Saturday, February 27, 2010

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Friday, February 26, 2010

Our favorite Indian recipes

Let's start with a look at Indian spices and how they're used, and then move on to our all-time favorite dishes.  Some of these I've had to simplify since I don't always have access to all of the ingredients (or time) that I might like.  And I also don't own a tandoor!

You'll be able to find this list linked in the sidebar, and I'll be adding to it from time to time.  Hope your family grows to love Indian food as much as we do!


Black eyed peas dahl

Red lentil curry

Tandoori chicken without the tandoor


Rogan josh

Chicken tikka

Mint chutney

Lamb and lentil stew

Diwali rice pudding

Ceylonese sauce for vegetables and rice

Punjabi masalah lamb

Curried carrot soup

Spicy chickpeas

Vegetable vindaloo

Pineapple chutney

Sweet potato soup

Korma sauce

Cherry tomato chutney

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Slow cooked pork tenderloin (OAMC)

Here’s a super-easy Once a Month Cooking (OAMC) recipe that you can throw in the crock pot this morning and eat tonight, or that you can prepare really easily and freeze for future meals. To make this for a freezer meal, pre-cook the tenderloin in a minimal amount of liquid in your crock.

Slow Cooked Pork Tenderloin

1 – 2 lb pork tenderloin
2 c apple juice or cider
1 c cranberry sauce
Sesame seeds (optional, to add before serving)

To make as a freezer meal, combine the pre-cooked tenderloin with the juice and sauce in a freezer container and freeze. To serve, reheat slowly in your crock pot or slow cooker, or thaw and heat more quickly directly on the stove. Add sesame seeds just before serving.

To serve tonight, combine uncooked tenderloin with the juice and sauce, and cook on medium heat all day in your crock pot or slow cooker. Add sesame seeds just before serving.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Fried rice and ginger

If you’ve pre-cooked some rice and edamame during your once a week food preparation time, this meal will go together in under thirty minutes! You can often find edamame already shelled and cooked in the freezer section. This is how I buy it when I can find it, since there don’t seem to be any additives in the package. Even if you have to start from absolute scratch to make this meal, it will still take only around 45 minutes to put together.

Fried Rice and Ginger

Canola oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
3 scallions, sliced
1 T fresh ginger, minced (about 1/2 a thumb!)
Red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 to 1 c edamame, shelled and cooked
1/2 to 1 c corn, canned, frozen, or fresh
6 to 10 oz firm tofu, cubed small

4 c brown rice, cooked
2 eggs
1/4 soy sauce

Heat some oil in your wok or skillet and cook the garlic, scallions, and ginger together for a few minutes. Add the bell pepper through the tofu and heat gently, stirring occasionally. In another skillet, add some more oil and pan-scramble the two eggs with a cup of the rice. When the eggs are cooked, add the rest of the rice and mix it through, along with the soy sauce. Serve the vegetable and tofu mix on top of the rice mix.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

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Friday, February 19, 2010

Piperade sauce

Piperade sauce is a Basque treat based upon sweet green peppers, tomatoes, and onions.  It makes a great topping for spaghetti or other pastas.  The following recipe makes the perfect amount for one typical box (about 13 oz) of spaghetti.  The really nice thing about this recipe is that it's so fast to put together, if you start the water boiling for the pasta and then assemble the sauce, you'll finish both at about the same time!

Piperade Sauce

Olive oil
2 c peppers, mostly green, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1/2 inch thick slice of ham, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
Salt and pepper

Saute the vegetables and ham in olive oil in a large saucepan.  Add the crushed tomatoes and spices.  Heat and serve over pasta.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Chicken and rice with creamy herb sauce

This is so simple and so delicious that it pretty much shouldn't be legal.  But it is and is and is!  If you prepare the rice ahead of time and use pre-cooked chicken, it will only be as long as it takes to heat through before it's ready for dinner.  Even if you start from total scratch at dinnertime, it will only take about 40 minutes...the time it takes to do the rice.  Just start the chicken and sauce after the rice gets underway.

A fabulous vegetable accompaniment is fresh green beans stir fried in olive oil, topped with dried cranberries and a bit of sesame oil. 

Chicken and Rice with Creamy Herb Sauce

1 c long grain or brown rice
2 1/4 c water

3/4 c chicken stock
1/4 c dry white wine
4 skinned chicken breast halves

1 t cornstarch
1 T chicken stock mixture
3 oz Neufchatel-style cheese with herbs

Start the rice.  In a large skillet, bring the chicken stock and wine to a boil.  Add the chicken breasts, cover and reduce to a simmer for 15 minutes, turning so they are cooked completely.  Remove the breasts from the liquid and set aside.  Mix the cornstarch and a bit of the cooking liquid together and use to thicken the stock.  Stir the cheese into the liquid and heat well, stirring constantly.  Add the chicken back and keep warm until serving time.  Serve chicken and sauce over rice.

Monday, February 15, 2010


This dish is something that friends ask us to bring when we get together for potlucks...that's saying something!  My favorite recipe for paella is a fairly traditional mix of seafood and sausage.  You can alter the protein content to suit your audience.


2 c chicken broth
Goya Sazón with Azafrán (spice mixture)

Olive oil
8 oz chorizo sausage, sliced on the diagonal
1 large onion, chopped
1 large clove of garlic, chopped
1 t paprika
1 1/2 c arborio or other short-grained rice
1/2 c white wine
1 can (15 oz) diced tomatoes
1 lb shrimp, pre-cooked
1 c peas, fresh or frozen
Parsley for garnish

Mix the broth and spices together in a saucepan and heat to a low simmer.  In a dutch oven or large skillet, saute the sausage in the oil.  Add the onions and garlic and saute until softened slightly.  Add paprika and rice and stir to coat rice with oil.  Add wine, tomatoes with juice, and hot broth.  Stir and bring to a boil before transfering to a 450 oven.  Bake for about 20 minutes or slightly more until the rice has absorbed the liquid but is still sticky.  Add the shrimp to the top, stirring them slightly down into the top layer of rice.  Toss the peas over the top and return to the oven for about 5 more minutes just to heat through.  Serve with parsley garnish.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

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Friday, February 12, 2010

Creamy vanilla pudding

I learned to make this basic pudding back when I was a kid, and I've never found any reason to mess with the recipe.  Well, sure...I went through that stage of buying sugar free and even low fat pudding mixes, but let me tell you a secret: they're NOTHING in comparison to the real thing.

I'd rather have a small portion of really good pudding than a whole tub full of the packaged kind.  Actually, I'd rather have a rather large portion of this really good pudding...

Creamy Vanilla Pudding

1/2 c sugar
2 T cornstarch
1/2 t salt
2 c milk (whole milk, of course!)
2 egg yolks, slightly beaten in a medium bowl

1 t vanilla
2 t butter

Mix sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a medium saucepan.  Gradually stir in the milk, stirring out all lumps.  Heat over medium low, stirring constantly.  Do NOT let the mixture scorch.  Bring to a very gentle boil for about 1 minute until it thickens.  Remove from heat and gradually stir at least half the mixture into the egg yolks, very slowly, stirring constantly.  Then blend into the rest of the hot milk mixture and return to the stove.  Bring up to a gentle boil again.  Remove from heat and stir in the butter and vanila.  Pour into dessert dishes and cool in the refrigerator.  Serve with whipped cream.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Roasted Parsnip Soup from Eating Well

Stirring in the syrup

The least pleasant task in preparing this soup is coring the parsnips. I find it’s not too bad if you slice them lengthwise in quarters and then slice out the triangular shaped piece…don’t worry about getting every single woody fiber. The balsamic syrup seems like a bother to make too, but the flavor it imparts is out of this world. The soup is great without the syrup, but with it, you’ve gained a taste of heaven!

Roasted Parsnip Soup
This amazing recipe is courtesy of Eating Well magazine.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Cashew chicken

If you don't have time to toast the cashews in oil before stir frying your chicken and vegetables, make this dish anyway. But next time, try really hard to set aside a few extra minutes to do it... Serve it with rice.

Cashew Chicken

1 T cornstarch
3 T soy sauce
2 T rice vinegar
5 T hoisin sauce
1 T brown sugar

Canola oil
1 cup dry roasted cashews
1 lb chicken breasts, cut into stir fry sized pieces
1 T fresh ginger, minced
1 T garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 small broccoli heads, chopped
1/4 c water

2 - 3 scallions, sliced thin

Mix the cornstarch through the brown sugar and set aside.  Heat the oil in a wok or large skillet and toast the cashews lightly.  Remove the nuts and set aside.  Add the chicken, stir frying until just cooked through.  Remove and set aside.  Add the ginger and garlic to the pan and heat; add the vegetables and water.  Cover and steam cook for about 4 to 5 minutes until broccoli is soft.  Add the soy sauce mixture to the vegetables, along with the chicken, nuts, and scallions. Simmer for a few minutes to thicken the sauce.  Serve over rice.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

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Friday, February 5, 2010

Cheesy scalloped potatoes

There are many variations on scalloped potatoes, but this recipe yields one of the cheesiest, creamiest, most decadent batch you can ever imagine! Great with ham or fabulous as a main dish

Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes

4 large Yukon gold potatoes
1 large sweet onion
2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 c milk
1 c sour cream (not fat-free)

Salt & pepper

1-1/2 to 2 c shredded sharp cheddar cheese (12 to 16 oz)

1/2 c grated fresh parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 400 and use a shallow baking pan, 9 x 13 or slightly bigger, sprayed well with oil. Slice the potatoes and onions into 1/4 inch slices with food processor. Whisk together the milk and sour cream. Layer half of each ingredient group in this order: potatoes, onions, garlic, milk mix, salt & pepper, and cheddar cheese. Repeat the layers. Cover with sprayed foil and cook for 45 minutes. Uncover, add parmesan and cook for about 15 more minutes.

Variations: add parsley, chives, and/or bacon if desired.
Speed cooking time by pre-cooking the potatoes and onions a bit.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Vegetable and beef Guinness stew (OAMC)

This is a wonderfully flavorful stew, equally good as a OAMC recipe or as an immediate meal!

Vegetable and Beef Guinness Stew

2 t canola oil
1 lb beef stew meat
2 T flour
14.5 oz can beef broth
12 oz bottle of beer (Guinness Stout preferred)
2 medium Yukon gold potato, cubed
2 medium turnips, peeled and chopped into 1/2″ cubes
Leek, thinly sliced
2 medium carrots, sliced into 1/2″ pieces
3 thyme sprigs, or 1 t dried thyme
Bay leaf
Salt and pepper


1 T lemon juice
1 t sugar

1/4 c fresh parsley, chopped
More thyme sprigs for garnish (optional)

Heat the oil in a large sauce pan or pot. Brown the beef, sprinkled with flour, cooking for about 5 minutes.  Add a bit of broth and scrape up all the brown bits.   Add the rest of the broth through black pepper, and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes (to freeze) or until vegetables are tender if serving immediately, stirring occasionally. Discard the bay leaf and thyme sprigs (if fresh thyme is used).

Add additional water if needed, along with the sugar and lemon juice.  Serve immediately, garnished with thyme sprigs, or freeze for later. To serve after freezing, let it thaw overnight in the fridge or place directly into a crock pot or sauce pan and heat slowly and gently. Heat until the potatoes and veggies are tender.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Lamb, Fig, & Olive Stew from Eating Well

This recipe appeared in the Nov/Dec 2008 issue of Eating Well magazine. The original recipe was written to serve 4, so I’m not sure why the online version was cut to 2. No matter, you can double this recipe and end up with the right proportions; just add a little more cornstarch.

I chose to use a leg cut instead of ground lamb, so I pre-cooked it for several hours in my crock pot. The meat fell apart and the little fat there was peeled right off by the time I was ready to assemble the stew. The added benefit was that I could use lamb stock instead of beef stock! I highly recommend doing this if you can manage it…not counting the time the meat was in the pot (and I was off doing other things!), this meal clocked in as a thirty minute meal easily.