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Thai Red Curry Chicken and Jasmin Rice

Ok, noticeably, most of my posts are about baked or non baked sweets.  Well I am throwing you a curve ball, because its my blog, and I can do that.  Well really, I am only doing it because this meal is so fantastically good, that not sharing it seemed like a sin….and I don’t need anymore junk tacked onto my CON list when I get to the pearly gates.

What you need:

  • 3 boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into about 1 inch chunks
  • 1 red bell pepper sliced thin
  • 1 yellow bell pepper sliced thin
  • a handful or 2 of snow peas
  • 2 carrots julienne cut thin
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp red Thai curry paste(more or less to taste)
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • small amount of olive oil
What you do:

In a skillet, cook chicken until brown on the outside, but still pink in the middle.  Remove chicken and set aside.  Add oil to skillet and heat over med heat, add garlic and cook until lightly browned.  Add in rest of veggies and saute until softened.  Add chicken back into skillet.  In a bowl, mix coconut milk, curry paste and salt.  Add to skillet with chicken and veggies, and cook over med heat about 7-10 minutes until chicken is fully cooked.

Serve over rice, or not!

Macaroni and Cheese

Ok, this is awesome enough to need no introduction.  So I won’t be bringing the LOL’s with some dumb story to start this post.  Eat it up!

What you need:

  • 1 box elbow macaroni, cooked and drained
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard ( you can use regular mustard too)
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese ( ok maybe 3 cups..1 for the top, I mixed cheddar and colby jack)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
What you do:
 
Preheat oven to 400.  Cook macaroni according to package directions and drain.  In a medium sauce pan, melt butter over medium heat.  Add flour and whisk together.  Continue to whisk for a few minutes, until mixture becomes a light brown color.  Slowly add milk and cream, whisking the whole time to avoid lumps.  Add in mustard, salt and pepper, and let it bubble for a minutes to thicken.  Once thick, add 2 cups of cheese, a little at a time and mix well between additions.  Remove from heat.  Mix in cooked macaroni and pour it all out into a 13×9 inch baking pan.  Cover with remaining 1 cup of cheese and bake  for 20 minutes, or until top is golden brown.  YUMMMMMM!
I make a more adult version of this, but subbing gruyere cheese for the cheddar and subbing 1 tsp nutmeg for the mustard.  Either way its crazy good, and comforting.

Ratatouille

It’s not just a movie, no seriously, its a food.  It’s a really good food.  A really good, really worth the prep time, food.  It’s a food that you make when you have the in laws coming over and you want to dazzle them with your culinary prowess so maybe they won’t judge how badly you need to dust, or the fact that your 2 year old has a stain on her shirt, or wonder why you don’t call as much as you should and your Christmas card came 3 days AFTER Christmas, ok I may have personalized that a little bit.  Anyway, its yummy, smells amazing ( I attribute that to the copious amounts of red wine I dump in mine (read:me)) and is decidedly healthy.
I added my recipe for crusty Italian bread, just in case you’re feeling froggy.

Ratatoullie

What you need:

  • Olive oil
  • 1 small onion- chopped
  • 4 garlic gloves – minced
  • 2 bell peppers, any color- chopped
  • 2 zucchini- chopped
  • 2 summer (yellow) squash- chopped
  • 1 large or 2 small eggplant- chopped
  • 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes- drained
  • 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup red wine, any kind is fine, remember to sample, often
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme, or 2 teaspoons fresh
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary 
  • Salt and pepper to taste
What you do:

Coat bottom of big pot with olive oil and heat over medium heat.  Add onions and saute for about 3 minutes, until onions are soft and translucent.  Add garlic and saute, only for a a minute or so, or the garlic will burn and get bitter, and that’s just ew.  Add wine and let it cook down for a few minutes.  Add in peppers, zucchini and squash.  Let the veggies cook for a 5 minutes to soften, then add thyme and rosemary.  Add eggplant and tomatoes and salt and pepper.  Let every thing cook and jive in the pot for about 45 minutes to an hour, so flavors marry ( I have always wanted to say that).  You can keep in on low on the stove for a long time, like I did.  The longer it cooks, the more flavorful it becomes.

Printable version here!!

What you need:

  • 1 packed dry active yeast, approx 2 1/4 teaspoons
  • 1 1/4 cups warm water
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
What you do:

Mix dry yeast into a 1/4 cup warm water until it dissolves.  Let it sit for a bit until bubbles for, and yeast is totally dissolved.  Add remaining 1 cup warm water, flour, sugar and salt.  When dough starts to come together, add in olive oil and mix.  Pour dough out onto a well floured surface and knead for 5-8 minutes.  Dough should be tacky, but not sticky.  When dough is smooth and elastic, put it in a bowl with a little olive oil and swoosh it around to coat ball of cough.  Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 1-2 hours until its doubled in size.  
When dough has risen, punch it down and roll it into a long loaf.  Cut dough in half and either form into two bigger loaves, or 6 small sub rolls.  Coat a pizza peel, or wooden cutting board with corn meal and roll loaves lightly in the cornmeal.  With loves on the board, cover with plastic wrap and let rise again for 30-40 minutes. Before you put loaves in oven, put slice each one lengthwise down the center, only cutting into the dough about 1/4 inch.  
Heat oven to 425 degrees, and place loaves on a pizza stone or overturned cookie sheet, make sure you put the rack in the middle-lower half of the oven, too close to the top, and the crust outside will burn before the inside is fully cooked.  Cook for 10 minutes, or until the bottom of the bread sounds hollow when tapped on.  To make the inside chewier, and the crust,well, crustier…put a cake pan in the bottom of oven or on the bottom rack before you preheat it, and add water to it when you put the bread in. 

Tidy Mom I'm Lovin It Fridays

Sunday Dinner

The only thing I miss about meat is bolognese.  I could eat blognese all day, everyday.  Too bad I can’t have it…oh wait, I can!  Behold the red lentil bolognese recipe.  Hearty for the big eaters, and delicious for the picky ones.  You can almost eliminate the pasta, and eat it with crusty bread.  I added veggie crumbles  to up the protein punch, but it is just as good without it.

What you need:

red lentils

  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 gloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2/3 cup red lentils
  • 1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1/2 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • salt and pepper to taste
What you do;

Saute onion, garlic, carrot and celery in olive oil for about 5 min, or until tender.  Add lentils, stock, tomatoes, tomato paste and seasonings and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover and let simmer for 20-25 min.  If you are going to add veggie crumbles, add at very end of cooking time.  If you add it before it will trow off the liquid ratio, and you will end up with lentils that are not completely cooked.  

I served my sauce over fancy schmancy veggie pasta.  But you don’t have to get that cra-cra, regular pasta, any cut, works.

Printable version here!!

Lentils on FoodistaLentils

Thursday night pizza pizzaz

On Thursday nights, the things and I have pizza and movie night.  I’m not working, and they are usually tired from a week of school/play.  I won’t lie and say that every Thursday I make the pizza, because I don’t, and won’t.  But this Thursday is special, its Christmas Eve Eve, so naturally I am bringing out the big guns.  Its a super simple whole wheat crust with whatever tickles your fancy as toppers.  For me its roasted veggie, and for the things its fresh mozzarella and black olives.  The movie has yet to be chosen, but I don’t really care what we watch… I’m only here for the pizza.

What you need: (for the crust)

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 packet active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 hot water (not too hot, you will kill the yeast)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
Mix together dry ingredients, i do this directly in my stand mixer with the dough hook.  Add oil to water and add slowly to flour mixture.  If dough is too sticky add, a tablespoon of flour, or add more water if dough is stiff.  Once dough is the right consistency, knead for a few minutes.  Place dough in a bowl that has been sprayed with oil, cover and put aside for 20-30 min.  Punch down dough, and roll it out (should be about a 13 inch circle…or a wonky oval in my case)
The rest is really up to you.  I took the time while the dough was rising to slice some yellow squash, zuchinni and eggplant.  I coated them with some olive oil, sea salt, and pepper then roasted in the oven at 400 degrees for about 10-15 minutes.  I topped my pizza with the roasted veggies, sliced calamata olives, roasted red peppers, sliced baby bella mushrooms and fresh mozzarella.  And yes, I ate 3/4 of the pizza…all by myself…and I don’t feel at all guilty.  Happy pizza making!

Easy Cheesy Vegetarian Enchiladas

I really love Mexican food, no I mean I REALLY REALLY love Mexican food.  It, however is a pain in the arse to make, and usually is full of meat and calories.  I have been able to remedy one of those problems.  I made an awesome meat free version, that we all loved.  (i couldn’t really eliminate the calories…they are after all, easy CHEESY enchiladas) I made them ahead of time, then popped them in the oven when it was time for dinner.  Enjoy!

What you need:

  • 1 pkg taco seasoning ( I use low sodium, and I only use half the package)
  • 1 pkg Morning Star Veggie Crumbles
  • 1 box store bought Spanish rice
  • 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes – UNdrained
  • 2 cups Kale leaves- chopped fine
  • Whole wheat tortillas (or regular flour, if you prefer)
  • 1 can vegetarian refried beans
  • about 2 cups shredded cheese (all depends on your level of cheese addiction)
  • 2 or 3 green onions chopped
What you do:

Cook rice to package directions, but eliminate about 1/3 cup of the water and add tomatoes. Add kale when rice is almost cooked, you want it to wilt, not get mushy.  
In a skillet, heat the veggie crumbles until cooked, add taco seasoning and about 1/4 cup water and cook until a sauce is forms.  Add crumbles to rice and fluff with fork.
In a small sauce pan, heat beans thru.  You can start putting it all together now!
Smear some beans in the middle of the tortilla, top with a good amount of the rice mixture.  You can add cheese if you want (I don’t) fold over one side of tortilla, then the other and place seam side down into a baking dish.  Continue for however many you can fit in the dish, I can usually get about 5 enchiladas in mine.  Top with lots of cheese and green onions.  You may want to add tomatillo salsa or enchilada sauce, i leave it out because the kiddos dont like it (I also leave out the green onions, as you can see by the picture!)

Printable version here!!

Dinner- check, Dishes- check, Tea on the couch- check check check

I have a very simple approach to my cooking.  Whether its for guests, or just for us…basic is best.  That’s not to say that I don’t bring out the big guns on Holidays or special occasions.  I just think that if things get to complicated, its not enjoyable… and if it’s not enjoyable, whats the point?  I don’t, however, have a weekly schedule of dinners.  What I do have, is a few standbys that I go back to time and time again, always with a little tweaking and improvisation.  One of these standbys is chicken cutlets.  Chicken is fundamental, but can be morphed into some incredible dishes.  I use thin sliced chicken cutlets for the majority of my chicken meals, because its quicker cooking, a more appropriate serving for the rugrats, and breaded cutlets can be used in a TON of stuff.  Here is my ranch and Parmesan chicken cutlet recipe.  You can add or subtract spices and flavorings as you see fit.  The outcome will always be delicious and easy. 

What you need:

  • 1 package chicken cutlets (you can buy them that way, or pound chicken breast)
  • 1 package powdered ranch dressing mix (1/3 cup if you buy it in bulk like I do)
  • 1 1/2 cup PLAIN breadcrumbs ( I always have plain and Italian style in my pantry)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese ( I buy a chunk and grate my own, it has soooo much more flavor and pre-grated!!)
  • 2 eggs
  • olive oil (or vegetable oil)
What you do:
Heat on medium, enough oil to thoroughly coat the bottom of your pan ( I always pan fry in cast iron, but that’s your choice)



In a shallow dish, I use pie plates, mix the ranch dressing mix, bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese.  In another dish, lightly beat the eggs. 

I make my own breadcrumbs.  Uses old bread and saves me $$$



Dip the cutlets in the egg, then lightly dredge in the bread crumb mixture, cover both sides completely ** if you use one hand only for the egg, and the other only for the dry ingredients, you’ll minimize the junk that can build up on your fingers** Then add only a few cutlets at a time to the pan.

Cook for about 3-4 minutes, than turn.  The second side should cook 3-4 minutes too.  Since you might have to cook these in batches, your second and subsequent batches may be a little more browned that your first, that’s because of the smudge left behind in the oil, so don’t fret!  The result is crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside and has a ton of flavor.  They are perfect the next day for sandwiches, and are even good eaten cold!



A plate of goodness!