Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Dorm Food

I'm not even sure this constitutes cooking it was so simple

Trader Joe's Peanut Sauce
Rotini pasta - 1/2 box
3 large carrots, cut in small medallions
3 celery stalks, coarsley chopped
1/4 cup of peanuts
1 cup of chunk pineapple

1. Cook pasta as on box
2. While pasta cooks, gently saute carrots and celery. Then add pineapple chunks and saute for a few minutes. Then add 1/4 cup of peanuts
3. Move vegetables into a pot (the one you made the pasta in probs), and add 3/4 of the jar of peanut sauce plus all of the vegetables. Let peanut sauce boil a little to cook of some of the pineapple juice. Remove from heat and add pasta. Wait a minute or two before serving so the sauce can thicken.

This meal was delicious and cheap, cheap, cheap. Few possible substitutions/additions
- add some lime juice at the end
- fresh pineapple may keep it from becoming as juicy and so be a little peanutier
- add some fresh ginger when sauteing the vegetables.
- add some chunks of red pepper to the saute

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Lemony pasta with peas and asparagus


1/2 box of pasta (bow ties were nice tonight)
1 bunch of green asparagus
1/2 of a bag of frozen peas (probably 4 ounces)
canned pasta - 2 spoonfuls
half a lemon
parmesan cheese

1. Put pasta to cook
2. Cut asparagus into 1/2 inch sizes. In a small pan, saute asparagus with EVOO
3. Drain pasta, reserving about 1/2 cup of pasta water
4. In a pan, cook the frozen peas with the pasta water. After a minute, add the asparagus and juice from the lemon. With a a fine zester, zest the half of a lemon over the peas.
5. Return pasta to pot and mix. Add pesto sauce to taste
6. Serve with generous amount of parmesan cheese

Friend and I made this today in a tiny kitchen with limited supplies (for example, i finely chopped lemon peel instead of zesting). I think if I did this again I'd use a different shape pasta, probably shells to capture the peas. I also think zesting the lemon would help sharpen the taste. Although fresh peas would be an obvious way to improve this, ultimately I think our "sauce" needed a little work. I think the correct order should be: add 1/2 cup of pasta water to peas in a pot. Wait for water to boil off some, then add 1/4 cup of cheese, mucho pesto, lemon juice, and twice as much lemon zest. Once that sauce thickens, then mix with pasta. Last note, I think some fresh basil mixed in at the end would help play up the taste of the pesto deliciously.

Regardless, for a quick dorm-room style meal, this was tasty and cheap!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Honey pineapple chicken drumsticks

8 chicken drumsticks (no skin)
One large can of pineapple chunks ( reserve the juice!)
1/3cup of honey
One bunch of scallions, finely chopped
One garlic clove, minced
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
Salt to taste

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
2. In a long glass baking dish, put the drum sticks in a single layer. Pierce both sides several times with a fork. Lightly salt one side
3. Pour about half of the pineapple juice from the can, maybe 1/4 cup
4. Cook the drumsticks for 25 minutes
5. In a bowl, mix honey, rest of pineapple juice, scallions, garlic, and cayenne. Carefully spoon this mixture over the drumsticks and then put back in the oven for 15 minutes
6. Add pineapple chunks to dish, flip the drumsticks, and spoon sauce from dish over the chicken. Cook for another 10 minutes or until chicken is done.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Braised Chicken with oranges and olives

8 chicken thigh pieces
Two large oranges
One small jar of green olives
Three stalks of scallions

In a skillet, pour a little oil and heat to medium-high heat. Brown both sides of the chicken, cooking for about five minutes. Preheat oven to 350F.
Then, in a small square glass dish, place the thre bunches of scallions, slicing the green leaves to spread them out. place the chicken thighs on top of the scallions. Then pour the juice from the two oranges (mine yielded about 3/4 cup of juice) and put some orange zest over the chicken. Top off the chicken dish with about a oxen green olives and some of the juice from the jar - about 1/8-1/4 cup.
Bake in the oven for 20 -30 minutes depending upon your desired level of doneness.

Itook this recipe from Martha Stewarts Food Magazine, but upped the juice and oliveness. I added a few pieces of orange zest and let me say, more is better!

Orange beet salad

One can of beets
Two large oranges - peeled and sliced
About 1/8th of a red onion - in thin slices

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
Grey pompon mustard

In a bowl, I arranged a bunch of arugula as a bed of greens. Then I layered orange slices, bet slices, red onion slices - two layers of that. Then I sprinkled a little salt over the top. Finally, I poured the dressing over the top, although I personally didn't end up using al of the dressing i prepared.

I modified this recipe from Simply Recipes, mostly replacing the fresh beets with the canned beets. This salad was refreshing and quite delicious- even to someone who doesn't like vegetables usually (my cousin)

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Tie-Dyed Eggs

I followed this method to create a ton of eggs. A few things
1. you really want to be careful about laying the silk as close to the egg as possible - otherwise there are white patches on the eggs.
2. the white outside cloth is really important. I almost didn't do it, but some of these very colorful ties bleed ink into the boiling water and I think the white fabric helped to prevent that some.
3. boil in batches if possible - the red tie, for example, turned the water super red. I think it ended up turning some o the ends a little pinker, so beware.

Now, just a lot of pictures!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Cucumber Mint Berry Dessert

I made dessert with some sugar-free friends in mind. I'm listing what I would do if I could redo this dessert some because the original recipe was pretty bland

2 cups plain unsweetened yogurt
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 cup of fresh mint, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 large cucumbers, sliced in semi circles 1/8th inch thick
Raw agave nectar
lime zest

1. In a large bowl, put cucumber, yogurt, lime juice, mint, and garlic. Mix well and then refrigerate.
2. To serve, put about 1/3 cup of cucumber mixture in a small bowl. Put some fresh lime zest on top, then some combination of the berries. Finally, top with about 1 tbsp of agave nectar (or honey).

A couple of notes. I did this without the agave and it was bland. I also made it with less mint, and so I suggest upping the mint above. The garlic never really came across, so I'm not sure if I didn't get the full flavor of it or maybe need to up that. Play around with the garlic and let me know what you think. Also, I cheated and used pre-bottled lime juice and it was noticeable. Take the time to juice the lime (and then save the peel for zesting!)

Oh, and one last thing to consider - maybe soak the cucumbers in some sugar water first. I guess that means slicing the cucumbers and laying them on paper towels for about 15 minutes to soak up some of the liquid, then putting it in some sugar water for a while. Might be an interesting way to get some depth of flavor.

Bulgur and Bean Salad

It's finally nice weather here, and so I decided to make this spring recipe.

1 cup bulgur
15 oz can of black beans, rinsed and drained
15 oz can of kidney beans, rinsed and drained
15 oz can of whole corn kernels, rinsed and drained
3 long scallions (green onions) finely chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1/2 orange bell pepper, finely chopped
1 medium cucumber, finely chopped
2 plum tomatoes, finely chopped

1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup of EVOO

1. Cook bulgur according to package - 1 cup of bulgur in a sauce pan with 2 cups of cold water. Medium heat until it boils, then simmer for 12 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes in sauce pan and then move into a very large bowl to separate bulgur and let cool well. (Refrigerator works, too)
2. In a small bowl, mix red wine vinegar, garlic, chili powder, red pepper flakes, black pepper, salt, and EVOO.
3. In large bulgur bowl, place all vegetable ingredients and mix well.
4. Pour dressing over bulgur and mix well.

In the future, I would add 1/2 - 1 cup of finely chopped parsley to this spring mix.

The original recipe calls for the ingredients to sit for a while, but I tasted it right away and it was delicious!

Caraway Cookies

Caraway seeds are suppose to be good anti-nausea remedies. These cookies may help with that, but they are also a good not-too-sweet cookie. The seed makes them tasty like delicious whole grain bread almost. They were a very pleasant surprise.

1/2 cup butter
1 cup white sugar
1 egg, well beaten
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup milk
1.5 tbsp caraway seeds

1. In a large bowl, let butter hit room temperature and mix it well with the sugar.
2. Add egg to large bowl
3. In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt. (original recipe calls for sifting, but we didn't and they cookies were still pretty fluffy)
4. Add dry ingredients to large bowl of butter mixture with milk.
5. Then mix caraway seeds in.
6. If the batter is particularly liquidy, place it in the fridge for a few minutes (5-10) to solidify.
7. Preheat oven to 380-390 degrees. Grease 2 baking sheets with butter
8. Drop spoonfuls (1 tbsp) of batter onto baking sheets.
9. Bake 12-15 minutes until the edges are a little brown and top is golden.

The original recipe has no author, but these unique cookies were outstanding.

Triple Ginger Cookies

Made these as part of a care package for someone who isn't feeling well. They tasted freaking incredible - the fresh ingredients really packed a punch. I strongly recommend these.

2 cups of white flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground anise
4 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp Himalayan sea salt

1 stick unsalted stick butter
1/4 cup mild molasses (unsulphured)
2/3 cup white sugar
2 tbsp fresh grated ginger (or even more!)
1 cup finely minced ginger
2 lemons, zest only
1 large egg, well beaten

1/2 cup of sugar (for coating outside of cookie - could be fancier sugar if you want)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 3 baking sheets with wax paper.
2. In large bowl, mix flour, baking soda, anise, ground ginger, and salt.
3. In medium bowl, put molasses, sugar, and fresh ginger
4. In a small bowl put crystallized ginger (finely chopped) and lemon zest
5. In a cup, beat one large egg.
6. Over low heat, in a skillet melt one stick of butter. Make sure the mixture stays barely warm. Then add medium bowl of molasses, sugar, and fresh ginger. Stir.
7. Add beaten egg. mix well
8. Pour skillet mixture into large bowl with flour. Pour small bowl of ginger and lemon zest over - stir.
9. Now, the assembly process. Set up your three cookie sheets with wax paper, the batter, a 1/2 tbsp spoon, the bowl of reserved sugar, and a little flour. Lightly flour the spoon and your finger tips. Then roll 1/2 tbsp of batter into a ball, coat in sugar well, and then place on wax paper. The cookies don't spread very much, so leave only about 3/4 inch around them.
10. Bake for 7-10 minutes until the cookies crack a little. I baked for 4 minutes and then switch the very bottom and top cookie sheets, then cooked for 5 more minutes for even cooking. They'll be a little squishy when they first come out, but they'll harden up as they cool.

The original recipe says it makes 4 dozen, but really it just makes a ton. Enjoy!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Chick pea/ Garbanzo Taco

1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 15 oz. cans of garbanzos, drained & rinsed

1 tbsp chili powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp paprika
1.5 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper

1 tbsp tamari
2 tsp lemon juice

1. In heated skillet, put 1 tbsp vegetable oil and garbazos.
2. Add seasoning. Cook for 10 minutes in medium heat, stirring continuously. Be careful they don't burn!
3. Add tamari and lemon juice. Cook for 1 minute.

I found this online but now the URL doesn't work. I made this recipe in advance and it was delicious luke warm. The original recipe called for mashing the garbanzo beans, but the texture of the whole ones was pretty nice.

Fish Tacos

1 tbsp of virgin coconut oil
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 yellow bell pepper, chopped
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
6 small pieces of tilapia
juice from 6 limes
1/4 cup of chopped cilantro

1. Heat coconut oil in a skillet
2. put all ingredients in skillet and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, turning frequently and breaking up fish as it cooks

Chicken Taco Fixing

The first in a series of taco fillings that I'll blog about now. I hosted taco-fiesta tonight - everything was delicious!

1 lb of chopped chicken breast. 1/2 inch cubes work well
1 cup of lemonade
2 tbsp of EVOO
juice from 1 lime
lime zest from that lime
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 bay leaf

1. put all the ingredients in your wok. medium high heat. 15-20 minutes until the chicken is done.

Pretty simple. The lime zest is my addition, but otherwise its basically this delicious recipe!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Spinach Lasagna

So, again, this recipe comes from reading a variety of recipes and then compromising on my own version given time and ingredients in my possession.

preheat oven to 350 degrees

Prepare yourself with the following bowls of ingredients.

Bowl A: 1 can or bottle of marinara sauce (I used a mushroom base) ;

Bowl B: mix together
1 package of frozen spinach cooked.
1 14-16 ounce tub of ricotta cheese
1 14-16 ounce tub of fat free cottage cheese
2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese

Bowl C: 15 cooked lasagna noodles

Bowl D: 1/2 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese mixed with 1 tbsp of italian spices (I have a grinder called that - if not, basil, oregano, garlic powder,thyme, some pepper, etc). Put this bowl in the fridge until much later.

Using Bowl A, B, & C, begin the assembly process.
In a regular lasagna/baking dish, I sprayed non-stick cooking oil first. Then a spoonful of marinara sauce. then 3 lasagna noodles.
Then I put in about half of the spinach mixture over the noodles, spread out evenly
then 3 lasagna noodles
Then several spoonfuls of marinara sauce evenly spread out
then 3 lasagna noodles
then the other half of the spinach mixture, spread out evenly.
then 3 lasagna noodles.
then the rest of the marinara sauce
then 3 lasagna noodles.

Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 40 minutes. Then remove aluminum foil and top with 1/2 cup of shredded mozzarella with 1 tbsp of italian spices. Bake (uncovered) for 10 minutes.

Few things to consider.
Why cottage cheese?
Well, to be honest it was because I didn't buy enough ricotta. But, on the plus size, it lightened the flavor a little - and the calorie count. I think I could probably cut the ricotta in half and not notice the difference with this substitution.

What if I want it with meat?
If you wanted to make this meaty, cook some ground beef with marinara sauce. I think the multitude of layers in this pasta would make that combination very nice.

What if I don't have spinach?
I would substitute in any other complementary vegetable - grilled onions, or lightly cooked mushrooms could work nicely. There is a lot of room for variation with the vegetables! It seemed important that the vegetables be cooked, however, before the lasagna construction, to prevent weird texture issues. Next time I'm going to try layering some grilled eggplant in there, as well.

What if I want to make it vegan?
Well, there are some vegan cottage cheeses. I think replace all of the ricotta with that; replace all of the cheese with soy alternative. For nutrient and texture value, it may also be best to blend in some soft tofu with the spinach/"cheese" mixture. Someone let me know how that works out if you do it!

What else can I serve with lasagna?
This recipe produces a hearty meal. We ate it with a green salad and a french baguette - plus some dessert!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Chicken Mozzarella

I read what felt like a billion "easy chicken parmagian" recipes and finally made this version. It borrows from so many others, that I can't really cite a specific other recipe.

4 pieces of chicken (I took two .75 lb chicken breasts and cut them in half)
14 Ritz-like crackers (mine were the generic brand)
1/2 cup shredded Mozzarella
1/2 tbsp dried Italian Herb blend (its a grinder that has garlic, onion, parsley, black pepper, salt and maybe more)
1/2 tbsp dried Oregano
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup flour
Red Pasta sauce
Pasta of your choice

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
2. Take a baking dish and line it with aluminum foil. This trick cut my cleaning time substantially
3. Prepare three small bowls. Bowl A should have just the flour. Bowl B should have the beaten egg. Bowl C gets a bit more complicated - put the crackers in there, but crush them with your hands until they are pretty fine mush. Add the herbs - to be honest, I just kept pouring the herbs until it looked about right (my grandma's method of cooking which always infuriated me, but I now understand). Therefore, the 1/2 tbsp measurements are guestimates - if you want to add more, I say go for it. Then add 1/4 cup of Mozzarella (you'll need the rest at the end)
4. Now take the chicken dip it both sides in the flour bowl, then both sides in the egg bowl, then both sides in the cracker bowl, and then place it on the foil. Repeat for each piece. Whatever remains from the cracker dish, just put on top of the chicken pieces.
5. Bake for 20 minutes
6. As soon as you put the chicken in the oven, start the water boiling for pasta. Cook as directed. I was able to time this almost exactly so that the pasta and chicken finished at the same time.
7. When the chicken has cooked for 20 minutes, take a generous spoonful of the pasta sauce and place it on each chicken piece. Use the remaining 1/4 cup of mozzarella and evenly distribute it amongst the chicken pieces. Put them back in the oven for about 4 minutes.
8. After draining the pasta, coat with your red pasta sauce.

Serve pasta in a bowl with a piece of chicken. A caprese salad completes the meal nicely.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Taco Soup

My friend gave me this recipe in order to feed the truly hungry. I have to say, most of these ingredients came from Dollar General, so feel free to buy cheap. This combination also made a real ton of this chili-soup, so feel free to mix ingredients around

1 pound ground chuck
2 cans dark kidney beans (water drained)
1 can corn (water drained)
1 can light kidney beans
1 can stewed tomatoes with onions and garlic
fajita spice mix
ranch dressing mix

1. In a big stock pot, add the ground beef and the fajita mix. Stir and cook until meat brown.
2. Add all the cans of ingredients and the ranch mix. Stir and add in 2 cans full of water (about 28 ounces).
3. Bring to a boil and let simmer until beans are a little soft. My friend said 30 minutes, but I basically let it go until I was done making dessert, making the quesadillas to go with this, and cleaned the kitchen.

I really think spicing the meat separately is important. It's surprising how flavorful the soup is and I think its the ground meat.

Serve with shredded cheese, crackers, and/or sour cream. If I was feeling fancier, I'd also recommend stir frying some onions with the meat (chopped thick). Also, some cilantro over the top would be delicious.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Rosemary Pecans

I was looking for a tasty snack and something to give as a thank you gift. I accidentally modified this recipe

3 cups of pecans
2 tbsp of salted butter (its what I had)
1 tsp of brown sugar
1/4 tsp of cayenne
2 tbsp of chopped fresh rosemary.

1. I melted the butter in a bowl in the microwave. Careful not to burn your butter!
2. Add the rosemary, sugar and cayenne. mix well
3. Add the pecans and toss vigorously.
4. Let it sit for a little and then eat

I modified the recipe to make it a little less greasy and to make it more flavorful. I was just too lazy not to roast them, but if you're interested in that, check out the original recipe.

Glazed Carrots

1 cup baby carrots
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp brown sugar

1. Small sauce pan over medium-low heat, melt the stick of butter.
2. Add brown sugar and mix. Then add carrots
3. Cook for about 5 minutes until carrots are slightly tender.

Let rest for a minute so the sauce thickens and then serve.

Classy beige rice

In an effort to class up my usual rice selection, I tried this combination of foods myself.

rice cooker!
1 cup of white rice
1 cup of brown rice
2 cups of water
1/2 cup of blanched almond slivers
1 tsp of dried oregano

Add all and cook in the rice cooker. The almonds become soft and add a subtle flavor to the rice. I think next time, I'd use almond slivers that had the brown skin on the side to add some color to the rice. I think fresh oregano would have been much better, but it is winter.

Balsamic Cashew Chicken

4 chicken breasts
1/4 cup of cashew halves
1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar
1 packet of Spicy brown mustard

1. Use cooking spray to lightly grease a big skillet. Over medium heat, par cook the chicken breasts for a few minutes on each side. (Watch for thickness, probably 5 minutes on each side).
2. Remove the chicken and put it aside in a covered plate
3. In the heated skillet, add the balsamic vinegar and cashew halves. wait for the vinegar to lightly simmer so that it dilutes itself some.
4. Add a packet of spicy brown mustard and mix.
5. return the chicken and finish cooking the chicken in the sauce.

delicious! I found this recipe in a low carb cook book, but have made a few minor modifications to simplify this. It might still be low carb, not sure. Either way, pretty tasty for minimal effort.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Clementine Lime Pie

A wealth of quickly riping clementines prompted me to search for this recipe. here is my modification

1/3 cup of Lime juice (I used the fridge bottled juice)
1/4 cup of Orange juice
1 Tbsp grated clementine rind
4 eggs lightly beaten
14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk
3 clementines.

1 store bought graham cracker crust.

1. Preheat oven to 350 F
2. Line the bottom of the pie dish with clementines wedges
3. In a bowl, mix all remaining filling ingredients. Pour over the clementines into the pie dish
4. bake for 15 minutes. Then let cool at room temperature and then put in the fridge for 2 hours.
5. To serve, garnish with more clementine wedges and some lime rind shavings.

Couple of things
I know I should make my own crust, but I'm always in a time rush. This is a corner worth cutting in my world, but someday I'll try harder.
Also, don't cheat the fridge time! I didn't let it cool at room temperature and only left it int he fridge for 1.5 hours - as a result, when I tried to serve it, it was difficult. I think more time and it would have geled nicely. As a result, I'm not sure how essential it is to let it cool at room temperature, but baking is an exact science so what do I know.

looked pretty impressive, I think.

Original recipe here