Thai green curry chicken

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This was my first experiment with Thai cooking. My master’s adviser is from Thailand and she brings us Thai food occasionally and it is always delicious. So I decided I wanted to give it a whirl. So I found some recipes online, and of course did it my own way anyways.
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Ingredients:
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 cans coconut milk
1/2 cup cilantro
1 hot pepper (I used serrano)
Lemongrass
Gingerroot
Garlic
Cumin
Limes/lime juice
1-2 cups vegetables of choice
Glass noodles

I had garlic already, and all the other ingredients added up to less than $20. (The bouillon and lettuce don’t count). It also makes a LOT of food, so that’s a total steal versus going to an ethnic restaurant.

Step 1: Get all the sauce ingredients ready: 2 tbsp diced garlic, 1 diced pepper, 1/4 can coconut milk, 2 inches sliced ginger, 1/4 cup diced lemongrass, 1/2 an onion, 1/2 cup chopped cilantro, 1 tbsp cumin, 1 tbsp lime juice, salt & pepper.  Put all the curry ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth.

Step 2: Put 2 tbsp oil in a large pan, and add the curry paste. Apparently this releases the oils and flavors (?) Add the rest of the can of coconut milk and simmer for 5 minutes.

Step 3: Dice the chicken while the curry simmers.

Step 4: Add the chicken chunks to the curry.

Step 5: Cut the vegetables you want to use into bite sized pieces. I decided to use green beans and orange bell peppers. Add those to the pan and simmer 5-10 minutes.

Step 6: Boil the noodles or rice you want to serve with the chicken. I had some oriental rice noodles I purchased earlier.

Step 7: Put rice or noodles in a bowl and add chicken curry. Enjoy!

Obviously, you can make many variations. Add whatever vegetables you like, more or less of certain spices, more peppers if you want it spicy.

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

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A Slovak classic, cabbage rolls stuffed with rice and ground beef. There are of course many variations on the recipe, including ground pork or turkey or sausage, various forms of tomato sauce/paste, etc. This is my take on what I could remember from my grandmother’s recipe.

ROLLS

  • 1 large head cabbage
  • 1.5 lb ground beef
  • 1 med onion
  • 1.5 cups rice
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • Spices – garlic, italian seasoning, salt, pepper, paprika

SAUCE

  • 1 large can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar

Step 1: Boil a huge pot of water. Carefully remove the outer large leaves and blanch in boiling water for 5 minutes or until soft. Remove and drain.

Step 2: Add all sauce ingredients and simmer on low. Brown the ground beef. I also made mashed potatoes to go with the rolls. Just peel and dice up several potatoes and boil until soft.

The picture looks foggy bc there was so much steam from boiling the cabbage and rice

Step 3: If you’re making mashed potatoes too, add butter, 1/2 cup milk, 1/2 cup sour cream and some salt, and mash together.

Then I put the potatoes in a small crock pot to keep warm because I was transporting them. Also I sprinkled some paprika on top.

Mashed potatoes are always a good choice. Especially with anything tomato-ey involved.

Step 4: Drain the ground beef. Add diced onions and cook 5 more minutes until soft, and add any desired spices. Also, boil or microwave the rice. Mix beef, rice, and tomato paste together. Fill cabbage leaves with about 1/4 cup (fist-sized) of mix. Fold over one end, tuck both sides, and then roll tightly.

Step 5: The extra cabbage from inside I also boiled, poured some tomato sauce over, and added to the bottom of a sprayed crock pot. The rolls I began layering over the cabbage.

Step 6: Pour the sauce over the rolls, and then enjoy! (I was taking them to class for lunch. Lucky classmates right?!)

Stuffed pepper casserole

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If you’ve been following along, you know I love stuffed pepper. You also know I love my crock pot. Stuffed peppers in the crock pot tend to come out a little mushy, so I decided to try making a casserole instead of leaving the peppers whole. They get cut into tiny pieces when you eat it anyways right?
Ingredients:
4 large red bell peppers
1.5 lb ground beef
1.5 cups rice
1.5 cups chicken broth
1 can tomato sauce
Garlic, italian spices, pepper, salt
Step 1: First cut the peppers into small chunks and line the crock pot.

Step 2: Then add the chicken broth to the rice and cook, following directions for the type of rice you use… the chicken broth just gives it more flavor, if you’re watching your sodium you can omit it.

Step 3: While that’s cooking, brown the ground beef.

Step 4: Then mix the rice, sauce and beef together. Pour over the peppers. I actually added 1/2 a chopped onion to the beef to give it more flavor. Season with whatever spices you like.

Step 5: Cook on low for 1 -2 hours and enjoy!

Crock Pot miracles – Stuffed Peppers & Strawberry Apple Crisp

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Crock Pots are miracle workers for students, busy moms, professionals, anyone who is pressed for time but still wants a healthy, home-cooked meal at the end of the day. As a full-time graduate student writing her thesis, with 2 other jobs and several PhD interviews to prepare for, I have been running a pretty hectic schedule lately.
It goes something like this:
7am – wake up, go to lab, begin an experiment.
8 am – rec, run or elliptical.
9 am – home, shower, breakfast, maybe an hour of free time.
10/11 – meetings.
12-2 find time for lunch.
Afternoon – classes and more experiments.
4 – 9: work or write, depending on the day.
So, in the one hour of free time I had the other morning, I realized I had 3 red bell peppers, minute rice, and ground beef. Plus two old apples and baking supplies I hadn’t used in ages. Therefore…

Crock pot stuffed peppers:
3 red bell peppers
1 pound ground beef
1 cup rice
1 can tomato sauce
Spices to taste (garlic, italian, black pepper)
Step 1: Brown the ground beef and cook the rice.Step 2: Cut tops off peppers and remove seeds. In a large bowl, mix the cooked rice and beef and 1 can tomato sauce, plus any spices. Stuff each pepper with mixture.
Step 3: Put in Crock Pot on LOW for 2-4 hours.
Dinner and dessert, will be ready and waiting when I get home.
The pepper, exploded on my plate. =)

 

Dessert went from plain apple crisp to strawberry apple crisp because I couldn’t find any plain oatmeal. So I made do with what I had. And I’m glad I did!

Crock Pot Strawberry Apple Crisp:
2 apples, 1 red & 1 green
1 packet strawberries & cream oatmeal
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup butter/margerine
Cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla extract

Step 1: Dice the apples and mix in a bowl with a sprinkle of cinnamon and nutmeg. Put apples into a sprayed slow cooker.

Step 2: Mix the sugars, oatmeal, flour, butter, 1 tbsp. vanilla and another sprinkle cinnamon and nutmeg in a separate bowl.

Step 3: Sprinkle a tbsp sugar over the spiced apples in the crock pot, and cover with crumble mixture. Cook on LOW for 2-4 hours. The sugars carmelize, the apples are soft and tangy, it tastes like heaven warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!!!

This is so completely fabulous I can’t even describe it!

Spinach fruit & nut salad

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Well as you may remember, I am eating healthier this year. Working out has been kind of off and on due to sickness, school visits, and I admit, laziness. I have been pretty good about eating better overall though. So today I decided to make a super healthy salad.
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Spinach is one of the best greens out there, with tons of vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber. Then I added some fruit for natural sweetness, and nuts & seeds for healthy fats. The only thing that could make this better is some grilled chicken breast to top it off!
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Ingredients:

2 cups fresh, washed spinach
1/2 kiwi
4-6 strawberries
1 roma tomato
1/4 cup walnuts
1 tbsp. sunflower seeds
Balsamic vinegar & olive oil

Step 1: Cut the peel off the kiwi and cut into slices. Slice the strawberries as well.

Step 2: Put a big pile of spinach leaves on a plate, cover with diced fruits & nuts. Add dressing, enjoy!
Here’s to eating healthy and enjoying it for life!

Balsamic Chicken and Spanish Rice

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I got the basic idea for this from allrecipes.com but of course I tailored it to my tastes and what I had around the house. I had taken out a chicken breast to thaw with the intent of making chicken quesadillas, but my boyfriend used all the tortillas to make tacos. So plan B. =)
Chicken:
Balsamic vinaigrette
Lemon juice
Garlic powder
Chili powder
Rosemary, thyme, dill
Rice:
1 cup Minute Rice
1 cup water
Cumin
Garlic powder
1/2 cup salsa
1/2 cup corn
First, combine all marinade ingredients in a plastic bag. I cut the chicken breast into smaller, thinner pieces to cook faster. Left marinating in the fridge for about an hour.
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When ready to cook, I put a few tbsp olive oil in a frying pan and heated it up. Then the chicken and marinade was dumped in all together. Cooked over low heat for several minutes with a cover on.

While the chicken was cooking, I put the spices, water and rice in a microwave-safe bowl and microwaved for 5 minutes. Let sit for 3 minutes or so, and fluff with a fork. Then add the salsa and corn, and microwave another 2 minutes. After the chicken was fully cooked, I put the chicken pieces on a towel to drain.

This is what the rice and chicken looked like fresh off the stove/microwave.

 Delicious!

Simple peanut-butter-banana breakfast muffin

This is one of my favorite 2-minute breakfasts. It has grains, fruit, protein and great flavor. Plus I think it’s only 350 calories.
Ingredients:
1 Whole grain English muffin
1/2 banana, sliced
1 tbsp. Jif peanut butter
Step 1:Toast the muffin (you don’t have to) and slice up the banana.
Step 2: Put 1/2 tbsp. of peanut butter on each half. Then arrange the banana on top. Enjoy with your breakfast beverage of choice.

Slow Cooker Chicken Stroganoff

 

I got the basic idea for this creamy delight from Sparkpeople.com and tweaked it to what I had in my house. It’s like beef stroganoff, just healthier because you use boneless skinless chicken breast. And it’s made in a slow cooker, which is frankly the greatest kitchen invention ever, because you just add all the ingredients, leave it go all day, and come home to a hot-and-ready meal.

Ingredients:
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 bag frozen veggies
1/2 pack of cream cheese

Step 1: Dice the chicken into cubes. Mix the soups and cream cheese in a crock pot, add the chicken. Cook on high 2 hours or low for 4.

Step 2: Add the vegetables and cook another half hour. It really is that simple! Served it over tri-color pasta for myself, and poured over some leftover biscuits from KFC. Both great options.

Chicken stroganoff over pasta.

Chicken stroganoff over biscuits.

Tilapia with rice & mixed veggies

Since I have resolved to eat healthier and exercise regularly this year, I will be adding many healthier recipes (I hope). I have been doing well so far, working out 5 days every week. By working out I mean go to our rec center and do 20-30 minutes on the elliptical, or run a mile on the track. Plus weight training 3-4 days a week.
So, as fish and vegetables happen to be two of the best foods for you, I decided to whip up one of my favorites, tilapia. As a side dish, a mixture of every vegetable I had in the house. It turned out delicious, and made enough of the rice & veggie mix to last 2 more lunches.
Ingredients:
1 tilapia fillet
Juice of 1 lemon or 4 tbsp lemon juice
Salt & pepper
Nature’s seasoning
1 large carrot
2 celery sticks
1 spear broccoli
1/2 onion
1 pint mushrooms
1 can black beans
1/2 cup brown rice
To cook the tilapia, I took it straight out of the freezer and put it in a frying pan with about 2 tbsp. olive oil and the lemon juice. Cover with a lid, and simmer on low heat for about 15 minutes. While cooking, I diced all the vegetables into small bite-sized pieces and boiled 1 cup of water.
Once boiling, I added the 1/2 cup rice and let simmer 20 minutes. In a second frying pan I added the carrots first to cook in about 1/2 cup water for 3 minutes. Then in order of hardness: the celery, broccoli, onion and mushroom. Covered that with a lid and let steam.
By this time I was ready to flip the tilapia to cook the other side. I sprinkled on some pepper and seasonings and a bit more lemon juice. Let cook for 5 minutes or so until done. Then flipped it back over for a minute and moved to serving dish.
In the pot which I was steaming the rice, I added all the cooked veggies and let steam another 3 minutes, then served 1 portion of it with the fish.

The fish was lemony and peppery, white and flaky. The vegetables were a good mixture of tastes and textures, and the beans add extra fiber and protein. Little to no fat overall.

Nutritional Info – Rice & veggie mix
  • Servings Per Recipe: 4
  • Amount Per Serving
  • Calories: 125.6
  • Total Fat: 0.8 g
  • Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
  • Sodium: 63.6 mg
  • Total Carbs: 24.3 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 7.4 g
  • Protein: 7.3 g

Goat cheese lasagna

 

Well, as December is chock-full of holidays and I spend half of it at home, I did not do much cooking past the 20th. It’s nice to be at home where someone else cooks for me and does the dishes. Like a restaurant, but with more love and fighting.

Anyhow, it’s 2012 now, time for some more creative kitchen adventures. I’m sure I will have plenty of old standbys like tacos and ramen noodles, but there are also some recipes on my mind I’d like to try soon. Plus, I’ve resolved to eat healthier and exercise more because the holiday weight gain really snuck up on me this year. So hopefully you will see lots of salads, soups and veggies.

Since I have not yet made anything spectacular, today I will post the last meal of 2011 that I made, goat cheese lasagna! This stuff is amazingly delicious, and terribly detrimental to the health of anyone kidney-stone-prone. But I had goat cheese and I love the stuff, so I went ahead and made it anyways as an end-of-the-year treat.

Ingredients:
Lasagna noodles
Pasta sauce
Ground beef
Goat cheese
Ricotta or cottage cheese

Step 1: Boil a large pot of water. Add the noodles once fully boiling and boil for 7-9 minutes. Once al dente, drain.

Step 2: While water is boiling, brown about 1 pound ground beef and drain excess grease. If you want, you can combine the meat and sauce in a bowl.

Step 3: Mix the cheeses together well in a separate bowl.

Step 4: In a baking pan or crock pot, layer the noodles, cheese, sauce and meat. Bake at 375 for 1 hour, or on high for 4-5 hours. You can also sprinkle some mozarella on top.

Then just sit back and enjoy! The salty tang of the goat cheese is phenomenal. I’d recommend adding a layer of spinach in there to healthify it and add extra nutrients.

The fusion of food, fun, frugality, and curiosity.