Easy Green Curry Chicken and Vegetables over Rice

I am always looking for quick, yummy dishes I can make during the week after a long day.  Eating a sandwichIMG_0403 or cereal just isn’t an appealing dinner selection.  I want a healthy, warm meal on cold winter days.  I had been wanting to make a curry dish over rice, but felt overwhelmed by it since I don’t cook that type of food often.  On Tuesday, my co-worker shared an easy recipe I felt comfortable making!  I grabbed all the ingredients at Trader Joe’s on my way home from work and it turned out great!  It only took about 10 minutes to prep and another 12 to cook it.  The green curry is very mild and has a slightly sweet taste with just the tiniest bit of spice.  The recipe below only fed 2 people, so certainly double it if you have more people to feed.  I’m excited to try variations of this with different vegetables, meat and even yellow or red curry sauce.  Enjoy!

What you need:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (or whatever you have)
  • 1 clove garlic finely diced
  • ½ lb chicken thinly sliced
  • 1 cup vegetables of your choice, fresh or frozen (I used a frozen stir fry mix of broccoli, carrots, onion, pea pods, baby corn, etc.)
  • ¼ cup chopped onion (if it’s not already in your vegetable mix)
  • 1 small jar green curry sauce (I used Trader Joes, but you could use whatever you want)
  • Cooked rice for serving

What you do:

  • Heat oil over medium heat and sauté diced garlic until fragrant (about 1 minute, do not burn!)
  • Add chicken and cook until done
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  • Add vegetables & onion and cook until desired tenderness (I like mine until  just warmed so they still have a little crunch)
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  • Add desired amount of green curry sauce (I only used ½ the can so I could use it again in another dish)
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  • Serve over white or brown rice
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Garden Fresh Marinara Sauce

Isn’t it amazing that you can plant a $4 pack of tomatoes seedlings in the spring and Vine to Spaghetti sauceget 100’s of vine fresh tomatoes a couple of months later?  Garden fresh food is hands down the most amazing thing to cook with.  You can take a stroll across your yard and pluck ripe vegetables  & herbs right off the vine.  And if you love to cook, with a small amount of patience and a little work you can turn a ripe tomato into homemade spaghetti sauce!

What you need:

  • 20-24 large Roma tomatoes
  • 4 large garlic gloves peeled and cut in ½
  • 2 tablespoons tomatoes paste
  • 3 large sprigs of fresh basil
  • EVOO
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Red pepper flakes if you like a little heat!

What you do:

  • Wash & remove the core from the tomatoes, set aside.
  • Bring large pot of water to a boil.
  • In small batches, drop the tomatoes into the water and boil until the skin starts to naturally peel.
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  • Remove the tomatoes from the boiling water and drop them into an ice bath.
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  • Remove the skins from the tomatoes.
  • Repeat the above 2 steps until all tomatoes are peeled.
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  • Crush the tomatoes using your hands until they are in small chunks.
  • Add EVOO to a large stockpot pan and sauté garlic for 30 seconds.  Do not burn!
  • Add tomato paste and stir until combined, about 3 seconds.
  • Add tomatoes, fresh basil, pinch of sugar, red pepper flakes and season with salt & pepper to taste.  Bring to a boil.
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  •  Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 45-60 minutes until reduced and sauce is thickened (make sure you boil the water out otherwise it’s really runny).
  • Remove basil stems and large chunks of garlic.
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  • Optional: Let the sauce cool and puree in a food processor or blender if you like your sauce smoother vs. Chunky.

Garden Fresh Basil Pesto

Do you remember when I planted my 1st garden?  I doubted my green thumb, big Basil Planttime.  However, thanks to the Miracle Grow Soil and some good sun and rain, my 1st garden is thriving.  In fact, I have fresh basil coming out of my ears!  I’ve been making 1 million caprese salads but wasn’t sure what else to do with it.  In comes the pesto.

I haven’t been a huge fan of pesto in the past but I love basil so I wasn’t sure why.  I think it is likely because a traditional basil is made with pine nuts.  I’m not a huge fan.  So, I figured I would substitute almonds for the pine nuts and see how I liked it.

I started with a small batch and loved it!  I plan to make a boat load more and freeze the sauce in small enough portions (ice-cube trays perhaps?) that I can take one out at a time and use them for dinners during the week.

This time around I served it over a store-bought (gasp) gnocchi along side salmon and a caprese salad.  It was divine!

Salmon dinner

What you need:

  • 1 cup basil leaves (loose)
  • ½ cup Toasted Almonds (I used slivers)
  • ¾ cup EVOO (you can use more or less depending on how thick you want the pesto)
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese
  • ½ teaspoon lemon juice (do this to taste)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

What you do:

  • Lightly toast the almonds in a pan or oven
    Toasted Almonds
  • Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth.  Add more oil if you want the pesto thinner.

  • Serve over any sort of pasta you like or even over fish!
    PestoGnocchi with Pesto

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Back in college, my friends and I would take trips to Mazatlan, Mexico.  To say that weChicken Tortilla 7 had a little fun is a bit of an understatement.  We baked in the sun, talked to other college students from all across the U.S. and went to clubs I wouldn’t be caught dead in now.  At the time, it was the best thing ever!

Believe it or not, one of the highlights I remember was a chicken tortilla soup served at a tiny corner restaurant.  I feel like we went there almost every day for lunch.  They would serve the soup with all the fixings on the side – avocado, crispy tortilla strips, cheese, etc.  Once it was loaded up with the fixings, it was heaven in my mouth.  The salty soup combined with the creamy cheese and crunch tortilla strips made my day.

Since 2002, I have been on the hunt for a recipe that did this soup justice.  What I couldn’t put my finger on was what the broth was made of; chicken broth, onion broth, or something I had no clue about?  The other thing that made it amazing was the crumbly cheese that melted just enough but still kept in tact when dropped into the soup.  It wasn’t feta or goat cheese, but had a consistency similar to those if you mixed the two together.

After over 10 years of searching, I’m convinced I finally found a recipe that brings me back to those days.  Once again, Food and Wine Magazine came through.  I now know the broth is a chicken stock & tomato puree and the cheese is crumbled queso fresco found in the Mexican section at the grocery store.  Duh.  I can’t get over how similar this soup is to what we ordered in Mexico over 10 years ago.  Now if I got some blue hair extensions and put on my backless shirt with hot pink shorts, I might think I was in Mexico while slurping on this soup.  Oh the memories 🙂

Recipe Source: Food & Wine Magazine
Recipe by: Rene Ortiz

What you need:

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large white onion, thinly sliced
  • 5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 pounds plum tomatoes, halved
  • 4 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • 8 cups chicken stock
  • Canola oil, for frying
  • 6 corn tortillas, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, diced
  • 4 cups shredded chicken, from one 2 1/4-pound rotisserie chicken
  • Crumbled queso fresco, dried chile, avocado and cilantro leaves, for garnish

What you do:

  • In a saucepan, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the onion, garlic and a generous pinch of salt and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened and starting to brown, 8 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, chipotle chiles and stock and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes are very soft, 30 minutes.
    Roma Tomatoes

    Roma Tomatoes

    Chipotle

    Chipotle

  • Meanwhile, in a skillet, heat 1/4 inch of canola oil. Add half of the tortilla strips and fry over moderate heat, stirring, until crisp, 2 to 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the strips to paper towels. Season with salt. Repeat with the remaining strips.

    Tortilla Strips and Queso Fresco

    Tortilla Strips and Queso Fresco

  • Carefully ladle half of the soup into a blender and add half of the butter. Puree until smooth. Pour the pureed soup into a large saucepan. Repeat with the remaining soup and butter.Chicken Tortilla 4
  • Stir in the shredded chicken and gently reheat the soup. Season with salt.
  • Serve the soup in bowls, garnishing with queso fresco, chile, avocado, cilantro and tortilla strips.

I love Chicken and Dumplings!!

Source: Epicurious.com 
Recipe: Chicken and Dumplings
By: Mike Lata

What’s my inspiration:IMG_0898

Today is my six-year wedding anniversary and I think I am the luckiest girl in the world.  I have an amazing, loving and hard-working husband (he even does my laundry!).  On our anniversary, we have a tradition unlike any other.  You guessed it, watching The Masters.  Actually, that is my husbands tradition.  I on the other hand, spend my time cooking a nice anniversary dinner while making unsolicited comments about the outfits worn by the golfers and laughing at what seem to be inappropriate comments made by the announcers (yes, like a 15 year old boy).  Makes it more fun for me.

This gem of a recipe was found on the great ipad app Epicurious.  Prepping the meal is a bit tedious since you hand make the dumplings and need to peel and chop the vegetables.  However, I promise it’s worth it.  The dumplings are light, fluffy and fun to eat.  The sauce has a fresh, savory flavor.  I have made this a couple of times and personally feel there aren’t enough dumplings to go with all the chicken and gravy.  Now, I make either a double batch of dumplings or buy a roll of biscuits and have leftover chicken and gravy over that.  So dang yummy.

What you need for Chicken and Dumplings
Gnocchi:

  • 1 pound ricotta
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour plus more
  • 1 large egg, beaten to blend
  • 1 1/4 cups finely grated Parmesan
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt

Chicken and gravy:

  • 10 cups low-salt chicken broth
  • 2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 celery stalks, cut crosswise into 1/4″-thick slices
  • 1 carrot, peeled, thinly sliced
  • 1 parsnip, peeled, cut into 1/4″-thick rounds
  • 1 leek, halved lengthwise, cut crosswise into 1/4″-thick slices
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  • 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
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  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • Shaved Parmesan

Make the gnocchi! 

  • Gently mix ricotta, 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour, egg, Parmesan, nutmeg, and salt in a large bowl just to blend (do not overwork).
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  • Form dough into a ball (it will be sticky); wrap in plastic and chill for at least 1 hour and up to 1 day.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
  • Place dough on a lightly floured work surface.
  • Divide dough into 4 equal portions and cover with a clean kitchen towel.
  • Using your hands, roll 1 portion into a 1/2″-diameter rope; cut crosswise into 1/2″-thick pieces.
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  • Lightly dust gnocchi with flour and transfer to prepared baking sheet.
  • Repeat with remaining portions of dough.
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  • Cover gnocchi with a kitchen towel and chill until ready to cook.
  • DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 months ahead. Freeze on sheets, then store, frozen, in an airtight container.

Make the chicken and gravy!

  • Bring broth to a boil in a large saucepan.
  • Add chicken; reduce heat to low, cover, and gently simmer until chicken is tender and cooked through, 20-30 minutes.
  • Remove chicken; let cool slightly and shred into bite-size pieces.
    Gnocchi; Chicken and dumplings
  • Bring broth to a boil and cook until reduced to 8 cups, about 15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, melt butter in a small heavy saucepan over low heat. Whisk in flour until smooth and cook, whisking constantly, until roux is pale beige in color, about 15 minutes (do not brown).
  • Scrape roux into simmering broth; whisk until thickened and broth coats the back of a spoon.
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  • Reduce heat to low and add vegetables.
  • Cook until tender, about 5 minutes.
  • Add shredded chicken and herbs.
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  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 days ahead. Chill, uncovered, until cold; cover and keep chilled. Rewarm before serving.

Finish the dish!

  • Cook gnocchi in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until gnocchi float to the surface, about 2 minutes (slightly longer if frozen).
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  • Using a slotted spoon, transfer gnocchi to bowls, dividing equally.
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  • Ladle chicken and vegetables with gravy over.
  • Season with pepper and top with Parmesan.
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Homemade marinara sauce

I enjoy making things from scratch because you know exactly what’s in it.  You don’t photohave to sacrifice any taste and can do so using fresh, healthy ingredients all while reducing the sodium.  When I realized Spring was “technically” here (although you wouldn’t know it from all the snow on the ground) and I still had 14 jars of my fresh canned tomatoes, I knew I needed to get cracking on using them.  What’s the point of all that work if you don’t use them in the winter when fresh produce isn’t available!

I found a great homemade spaghetti sauce recipe and tweaked it a bit to my liking.  It’s incredible and can give Rao’s sauce a run for their money.  Yeah, I said it!

This recipe makes about the same amount you would get when buying 2 jars from the store.  You can eat this with spaghetti, meatball sandwiches, lasagna or whatever else you like marinara sauce on.

FYI: While its way better with home canned tomatoes, you could certainly make it with store-bought.  Although it won’t be the same!

Enjoy!

What you need:

  • 1/4 cup EVOO
  • 3 garlic cloves, diced
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 quarts / 64 oz canned tomatoes (you can use stewed tomatoes from the grocery store.  I recommend low sodium!)
  • 3-4 sprigs fresh basil
  • Pinch sugar
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (omit if you don’t like spicy)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

What you do:

  • Add EVOO to a pan and saute garlic for 30 seconds.  Do not burn!
  • Add tomato paste and stir until combined
  • Add canned tomatoes, fresh basil, pinch of sugar, red pepper flakes and season with salt & pepper to taste.  Bring to a boil.
  •  Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 45-60 minutes until reduced and sauce is thickened

    Homemade meatball sandwich!!

     

Meatball Sandwich

Meatball Sandwich

Easy weekday shrimp

Well…I feel like a total blogger slacker. It’s been a month since my last post! While I’d like to blame it on being extremely busy, that isn’t totally the case. I have had a bachelorette party, a wedding and a dog show (Burton got a 5 point major!!) since my last post. But, I have also had plenty of time to relax. I blame my need for relaxing days on old man winter. He has been brutal! I haven’t even been able to enjoy snowboarding or other outside activities, too frigid for this chick.

I have found time to do a TON of cooking though. I know…cooking + relaxing = chubby. Well, not exactly. Remember, eat portions in moderation and you can enjoy better food!

I pulled together this simple shrimp recipe tonight and served it with baked sweet potatoes. While it wasn’t the “best shrimp ever”, it was simple and tasty enough for a week night. So I’d say, give it a try!

What you need:
1 pound shell on shrimp
1 stick butter, melted
2 lemons, sliced into thin rounds
Mrs. Dash salt free table blend
Salt and Pepper to taste


What you do:

Pour melted butter in you oven safe pan
Lay sliced lemons over butter
Lay shrimp on top
Season generously with Mrs. Dash. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Cook for 15 minutes at 350

Enjoy!!

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