Red curry chicken

This might be the easiest curry recipe you will ever make.

Start by dicing and cooking one pound of chicken on the stove top.

While the chicken is cooking, cube 4-5 small red potatoes. When the chicken is golden brown on the outside, add in the potatoes and a bottle of  Trader Joe’s Red Curry Sauce.  Simmer 20-30 minutes or until potatoes become fork tender.

When potatoes are fork tender, add in a half cup of frozen peas. Stir to combine. Simmer 2-3 minutes longer or until peas are cooked through.

Serve over rice or quinoa:

Best home baked fries

Holy cow! Oh my gosh! These fries are amazing.

Brian picked up a bag of red potatoes for me to made massaman curry the other day. The problem with a whole bag of potatoes is that when you only need a few, you end up with almost a whole bag left over. While I was making sloppy turkey-o’s one day, I decided to try to change them into baked fries. I had a good feeling about them, because it’s my personal opinion that red potatoes are the best of all the potatoes.

Preheat oven to 425F.

So, I sliced them into 1/4 inch by 1/4 inch stick(skin on), tossed them with a little olive oil, sea salt and fresh pepper. Place on a lightly greased sheet.

Put into oven.

Stir about every 10-12 minutes. After about 30 minutes, crank the oven up to 500F for about 10minutes. Keep a close eye so they don’t burn. Pull them out when they are done to your liking.

This will put the nice crispy brown crust on them.

Ground turkey: two ways

Brian and I eat a lot of ground turkey. It’s healthy and inexpensive. Alone, it doesn’t have a ton of flavor, but adapts to other flavors well.

The other day, I made standard turkey burgers by forming the meat into patties and adding some seasoning salt. I jazzed them up a little by topping them with bleu cheese and slices of avocado. Yum. Sautéed zucchini always makes a great side.

A combination of getting a bit tired of several types of turkey burgers and missing cooking over the fire at summer camp from years gone by, I decided to make turkey sloppy joes or sloppy turkey-o’s. I cooked the ground turkey with some diced onion on the stove top. Drain any fat off. Then I added ketchup, mustard, bbq sauce, garlic powder, salt and pepper.

Stir in, continue to cook a little longer.

Place on bun and top however you desire. It’s tasty and takes me back to younger days.

Oh, and definitely make these fries to go with. Recipe to come soon.

Thai love you!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

I’m working all day today, so Brian and I celebrated Valentine’s Day this past weekend. Instead of going out to eat, I requested to cook.

I decided on the theme of “Thai love you!” and tried my hand at making all Thai food…and because I’m a little cheesy.  We both love Thai food but don’t eat it that often because it’s not all that healthy.

The menu included baked crab rangoon, massaman curry and Thai coconut and cocoa macaroons for dessert.

Baked crab rangoon:

Ingredients:

  • 6 oz of white crab meat, drained and flaked
  • 2 oz neufchatel cheese, softened
  • 2 oz fat-free cream cheese, softened
  • 2 green onions finely chopped, reserve green tops
  • 1/4 cup reduced fat mayonnaise
  • 1 1/2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 small clove of garlic, minced
  • pinch of ground white pepper(black will work, too)
  • 12 wonton wrappers

Directions:

Heat oven to 350F. Mix all ingredients except wonton wrappers and green tops of onion in a bowl until combined.

Place one wonton per spot in muffin tin. Spoon crab mixture evenly between 12 wrappers.

 Bake for 18-20 minutes until edges of wonton are light brown and crab mixture heated through. Sprinkle green tops of onions on top for decoration.

These aren’t your typical, loaded with cream cheese crab rangoons. They are very crab-heavy but I find that they are more delicious this way. Less filler, more meat.  I forgot to pick up sweet and sour sauce for dipping, so Brian combined a little cayenne pepper, rice vinegar, water and honey in a bowl and it worked really well.

Massaman curry:

This recipe, adapted from allrecipes.com, was amazing. Brian loves massaman curry and exclaimed, “This is better than some of the massaman curry that I’ve had in restaurants.” I used lite coconut milk to cut a decent amount of fat from the recipe, but we couldn’t even tell because it was masked by the richness of the peanut butter. The recipe says that it makes four servings, but is easily six. This is a very filling dish.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons red curry paste
  • 1 (3/4 inch thick) slice ginger, minced
  • 1  pound skinless, boneless chicken breast meat – cubed
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce**
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter
  • 3 cups cubed potatoes
  • 1 (13.5 ounce) can lite coconut milk
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • Peanuts, chopped
  • lime wedges, for serving
  • pinch of red pepper flakes, if you want it a little hotter
  • Directions:

    1. Heat vegetable oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in curry paste and minced ginger; cook and stir for 2 minutes.
    2. Stir in the cubed chicken, and cook until the pieces turn white on the outside, about 3 minutes.
    3. Stir in brown sugar, fish sauce, Worcestershire sauce, peanut butter, potatoes, red pepper flakes(optional) and coconut milk. Ingredients in waiting. Made with love.
    4. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the potatoes are tender and the chicken pieces are no longer pink in the center, about 20 minutes. Add the lime juice and cook for an additional 5 minutes before serving.
    5. I was a total cheater when it came to making the jasmine rice for serving under the curry:
    6. Top with a lime wedge and a tablespoon of chopped peanuts.

    **The original recipe called for 3 T of tamarind paste. I looked at three different grocery stores and could not find it. I did a quick google search for substitutions and found that you could use equal amounts of Worcestershire sauce in its place. We didn’t notice a difference.

    We loved this and it will be in the regular cooking rotation. It’s easy and much healthier than ordering in Thai. A smashing success.

    Thai coconut and cocoa macaroons:

    Ingredients:

  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • 7 oz package of  flake coconut
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Directions:

    1. Preheat an oven to 300F.
    2. Spread coconut out on baking sheet and toast until light brown in oven. Check on it every few minutes and shake or stir it around so that it doesn’t burn.
    3. Beat egg whites until foamy in a large glass or metal mixing bowl. Gradually add the sugar, continuing to beat until soft peaks form. Lift your beater or whisk straight up: the egg whites will form soft mounds rather than a sharp peak.
    4. It’s very helpful to have all the ingredients measured out and ready to add in. Add the salt and lime juice and continue beating until the egg whites form a sharp peak that holds its shape when you lift your beater or whisk. 
    5. Gently folk the coconut and cocoa powder into the mixture.
    6. Drop mixture by tablespoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheets.

    Bake until golden brown and firm to the touch, about 20 minutes. Cool on the pans on wire racks. Store in an airtight container.

    These are more like a cross between a macaroon and a meringue. Very sweet but highly addictive. They were best when they were warm and straight out of the oven. They had the perfect hint of chocolate from the cocoa but not so much that it over powered the coconut. The recipe said that it would yield 8 cookies, but I made between 12-14 large cookies and could have easily made them smaller.

    This was start to finish one of the tastiest meals that I have made. I was nervous about making Thai food for fear that it would turn out badly, but my fears were laid to rest when I first tasted the massaman curry sauce and knew that it was spot on. If I can make Thai, you can too!

    Curried Chicken and Cauliflower Soup

    I found this recipe at the same time I found the Thai Chili recipe that I recently blogged about. This soup is a perfect weeknight dinner since it only takes about 30 minutes to make from start to finish.

    Adapted from January 2011 Clean Eating Magazine:

    Cut up one pound of boneless skinless chicken breast into bite sized pieces. Set aside.

    Chop up 4 cups of cauliflower, one small red bell pepper and a medium red potato. Set aside.

    Pull out your  4-quart pan or your favorite soup making pot. Heat 2T of light coconut milk over medium heat, swirling to coat pot. Be careful not to let the milk boil. Add chicken, covering the bottom of the pot and season with 4 teaspoons of curry powder.

    When edges of chicken turn white, stir or flip chicken to cook other side. Cook chicken another 1-3 minutes or until lightly golden.

    Add in 4 cups of low-sodium chicken broth.

    Add in cauliflower, bell pepper, potato. Stir to combine.

    Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Cover pot and reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer for 10 minutes.

    When cauliflower and potatoes are tender, uncover pot and simmer for one more minute to thicken slightly. Season with black pepper.

    Ladle soup into bowls and top with 3 tablespoons of cilantro and 1/4 cup of non-fat plain Greek yogurt.

    Stir in the yogurt to make the broth creamy and to help disperse the cilantro.

    I was a little scared to see if the yogurt would stir in smoothly. This definitely made the soup into a restaurant-quality soup. I’ve since eaten leftovers without the yogurt and it is much better with, but edible either way. This soup is inexpensive  and easy to make, filling, tasty and nutritional. A perfect first course for your next dinner party. Your friends will be impressed and shocked that you didn’t slave over the stove all day.

    Slow cooker pot roast

    In the cold days of winter a midwestern girl needs some comfort food to warm her up. I remember eating many a pot roast on my grandparent’s farm, so it has fond memories attached to it. I don’t remember particularly liking it as a small child, mostly because there were always onions with it. As I’ve grown older, I’ve learned to like onions and along with it, pot roast. So, I got a hankering to make a roast as the temperatures plummeted. I came home late from work one night and threw it in the crock pot so it would cook while I slept and I would have lunch to take to work the next day. It was the perfect plan. I came up with this concoction by combining several recipes that I looked up online and my vague memories of how my mom and grandma made it. In the bottom of the crock pot I combined a 20 oz bottle of Coke, 1/2 cup warm water and one packet of powdered beefy onion soup mix.

     All the recipes I saw called for regular onion soup mix but when I saw the beefy version at the grocery store, I couldn’t resist. I really don’t think it made any difference. All of the recipes I saw only called for a 12 oz can of Coke, but the grocery store didn’t sell single cans so I poured it all in. Mix the liquids and powder together as best you can. Mine didn’t combine all that well, probably because the Coke was cold.

     

    Dump in 4-5 medium red potatoes(chopped), one medium yellow onion(sliced) and 1/2 pound of baby carrots. For herbs, I threw in unmeasured, but probably close to one tsp of each: thyme, rosemary and bay leaf.
    Oh, and a GIANT clove of garlic. See… No, really. Compare it to the size of the baby carrots: 

    Rub your 3-4 pound roast with salt and pepper. Nestle the roast amongst the vegetables and scoop up liquid and pour over the top of the roast until coated.

    Put lid on crock pot and cook on low for 8-10 hours or high for 5-6.  Let the wonderful aromas fill your house.

    If you cook your roast overnight, wake up to the joy of knowing that a meal is already fixed for the day and you’ll have lots of leftovers for days to come.

    Sweet potato biscuits

    Brian and I celebrated our one year anniversary yesterday. Instead of going out to some over-priced and cheesy restaurant, I used the opportunity to cook.

    The menu included bleu cheese crusted filets, roasted Brussels sprouts, sweet potato biscuits and cannoli cheesecake. You’ll be getting the recipes in 4 installments and I’m starting with the biscuits today(a recipe adapted from Paula Deen). They were probably my favorite part of the meal.

    Since the recipe calls for 3/4 cup of sweet mashed potatoes and I didn’t have any on hand, I started by boiling one large sweet potato. And preheating the oven to 425F.

    While the potatoes were busy boiling, I sifted together 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, 2 heaping tablespoons sugar, 4 teaspoons baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Set aside.

     

    After the potatoes boiled until tender, I drained and mashed them:

    I could tell that this big spud made more than my needed 3/4 cup, so I measured them out.

    I ate the remainder of the mashed sweet’s as a side to my lunch and put the 3/4 cup back in the pan and combined it with 1/4 cup softened butter. Yep, the butter is what makes it a Paula Deen recipe.

    Add the buttery potato mixture to your ingredients and mix to make a soft dough.

    After the dough has started to form, you can add one tablespoon of milk at a time until dough is moist enough. I used 2% milk. I’m sure Paula really wanted me to use whole milk or heavy cream, but I just couldn’t do it. I only needed to add one tablespoon and my dough was plenty moist. The recipe says you can add up to 4 tablespoons, if necessary.

    Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and toss lightly until the outside of the dough looks smooth.

    Roll the dough out into 1/4 to 1/2 inch thickness and cut with a biscuit cutter.

    Place the biscuits on a greased pan.

    Coat tops with melted butter. Can you tell which one has been brushed with melted butter and which one hasn’t?

    Bake for 12-15 minutes. Watch your oven: If the biscuits are browning too fast, lower the temperature. Yields 15-20 biscuits.

    I ate them plain as they were so moist and delicious, but I’m sure they would be amazing drizzled with honey or maple syrup. I will definitely be making these again.

    Mashed sweet potatoes

    This was my least favorite recipe of the bunch. I think I would rather have a plain, baked sweet potato over this mash, but it won’t stop me from eating them.

    Recipe adapted from weightwatchers.com:

    Ingredients:

    • 3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1-inch chunks
    • 2 medium garlic cloves, peeled
    • 1/2 cup plain, fat-free yogurt, greek-variety recommended
    • 4 tsp sugar
    • 1/8 tsp table salt, or more to taste
    • 1/8 tsp black pepper, freshly ground, or to taste
    • lime juice(optional)

    Directions:

    1. Place potato chunks and garlic in large saucepan; pour in enough water to cover potatoes. Set pan over high heat and bring to a boil.
    2. Boil until potatoes are fork-tender, about 8 minutes.
    3. Drain potatoes and garlic and transfer to a bowl.
    4. Add yogurt and sugar to bowl.  Mash until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Makes about 8 servings(1/2 cup each).

    After I made these and had Brian and I taste them, we decided that we could taste the yogurt too much. Brian had the genius idea to add more pepper and a little lime juice to them. It completely cut the yogurt taste.

    Sour cream and garlic mashed potatoes

    My original plan for dinner on Saturday night was steak, garlic mashed and steamed asparagus. By the time I got to the grocery store the night before the meat counter was closed. So I opted to substitute the bleu cheese-stuffed chicken breasts. I’m just glad the grocery store wasn’t out of potatoes because these are deliciously creamy and garlicy. Perfect for a holiday meal or anytime you need some comfort food.

    Recipe adapted from weightwatchers.com:

    Ingredients:

    • 3 pounds small red potatoes
    • 10 garlic cloves, peeled
    • 6 Tbsp low-fat sour cream
    • 2 Tbsp olive oil
    • 1/4 tsp table salt
    • 1/4 tsp black pepper, freshly ground

    Instructions:

    1. Combine the potatoes and garlic in a large saucepan; add enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer until the potatoes are tender, 25-40 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 14/ cup of the cooking liquid.
    2. Mash the potatoes and garlic in the sauce pan.
    3. Stir in the sour cream, oil, salt and pepper. Gradually stir in the cooking liquid, 2 or 3 Tbsp at a time, until the potatoes become creamy. Makes 8 servings(3/4 cup per serving).

    This makes a large batch. You might want to halve it but I’m sure once you taste them you won’t mind having left overs. I also added more salt and pepper than the recipe called for.

    Lobster tails and low-fat potato salad

    Last night’s dinner menu was loaded with summer: lobster tails, low-fat potato salad and corn on the cob!

    I had bought some lobster tails for dinner but everywhere I looked told me that I needed to grill them. I don’t have a grill. Hmph! Finally, with Brian’s aid I found an uncomplicated “How to broil lobster tails in the oven” article. Success!

    Let’s get to it:

    1. Defrost lobster tails overnight in the refrigerator
    2. Preheat the broiler. Make sure the rack is at least 5in from the heat source.
    3. Flatten the lobster tail on a cutting board. Beginning at the WIDE end(not the tail end!), cut the shell down the middle and bend back to expose the meat. Rinse out any innards that are left.
    4. Coat a shallow baking dish with non-stick spray and lay lobsters meat side up.
    5. Create the marinade. In a small sauce pan, saute one clove of minced garlic and 2 tablespoons of butter(I used I can’t believe it’s not butter light as a healthier option and it worked well). When melted down, pour in to a bowl and add any combination of lemon zest, salt, pepper and/or parsley. Brush or pour marinade on lobster.
    6. Place lobster tails under the broiler and watch carefully. Broil for about 4 minutes then flip so shell side is up and broil for about 4 more minutes. Meat will be opaque and shell will be bright red when done.

    Low-fat Red Potato Salad

    Ingredients:

    • 3 lbs small red potatoes, steamed and diced into edible sized cubes
    • 2 stalks celery, finely diced
    • 3 medium radishes, finely diced
    • 1/4 cup vinegar(I would cut back about a Tbl on this)
    • 1/4 cup fat-free mayonnaise
    • 1/2 cup fat-free sour cream
    • 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
    • 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
    • 1 teaspoon dill weed
    • 1 dash pepper

    Preparation:

    1. Mix everything but the potatoes, radish and celery together until smooth.
    2. Add in potatoes, radish and celery.
    3. Chill for 2 hours and enjoy.