Coconut cream pie

Well, since I had almost a whole can of cream of coconut leftover from my Indian curry, I didn’t want to waste it. So I looked online forever trying to find a recipe for which I had all the ingredients. With some creativity, I could doctor this recipe for coconut cream pie and make a dessert to go with the curry.
Ingredients:
1 can cream of coconut
1/2 cup flour
3 cups skim milk
4 egg yolks (I saved the whites to make breakfast omelettes the next day!)
1 tbsp vanilla flavoring
1 tsp almond flavoring
3 tbsp butter
1 package Jiffy pie crust mix
4 tbsp cold water

 Step 1: Mix coconut, milk and flour in a pan and bring to a boil. Simmer on low heat until mixture gets nice and thick.

 Step 2: While boiling milk mixture, add water to Jiffy mix, and roll flat. Bake the crust in the oven at 350-400 for about 10 minutes, or until golden brown.

 Step 3: Slowly stir the hot milk mixture into the beaten egg yolks, then put back into the pan and simmer 5 more minutes.

 Step 4: Pour the whole thing into the pie crust, and let it cool. Once cool enough to touch, you can refrigerate until ready to eat.

I added a sprinkle of cinnamon on top, but if I had whipped cream you better believe I would put that on it too! This is perfect for me because I like the flavor of coconut, but absolutely hate the texture of shredded coconut. Win-win.

Crock Pot Indian Yellow Chicken Curry

Over the weekend we went to an Indian restaurant downtown and the food was absolutely excellent! This inspired me to try my hand at Indian cooking, because it is generally healthy and uses spices which are great for you. The spices were by far the biggest investment, but I can use them many many times, so the cost per use is not too bad. As long as you’re willing to invest in good spices and cook Indian food several times, it is worth it! The original recipe I found here, and there are tons of great Crock Pot recipes if you’re pressed for time during the day and looking for ideas. I of course altered it to fit what I had, and the results were pretty darn good. This makes about 5 servings of curry, and 2 of rice. But I would recommend making fresh rice when you eat the leftover curry anyways.
Ingredients:
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, diced
SAUCE
2 tbsp cream of coconut (I was supposed to use 1 can of coconut milk. Couldn’t find it at King Sooper, so I figured cream of coconut would be the same. False, it is thick like syrup and WAY sweet! So I omitted the sugar from the original recipe, and added a lot less of this, hoping the coconut flavor would still be there.)
1 cup skim milk  (Since I didn’t have enough liquid from the lack of coconut milk.)
1/2 cup sour cream
1 small can tomato sauce
SPICES
2 tbsp curry powder
1 tbsp cumin (mine was not ground)
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp red Thai spice (for a bit of a kick. Can use Tabasco or omit for no ‘bite’)
1 tsp ground ginger
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
VEGGIES
1/2 can garbanzo beans
1/2 vidalia onion, diced small
3 cloves garlic, diced small
1/4 red bell pepper, diced
1 cup fresh green beans, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 small sweet potato, diced
1 cup rice (basmati or jasmine is best)
1 1/2 cup water to boil rice
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

 Step 1: Whisk the tomato sauce, milk, sour cream, and coconut. Add all your spices and set Crock Pot to heat up.

 Step 2: Dice up all your veggies, chicken, garlic, etc.

 Step 3: Add the chicken and mix to coat with sauce. Add the veggies on top. You could choose not to mix them in, they will steam as the Crock Pot cooks.

 Step 4: Cook on high for 4-5 hours or low 7-8. Mix once or twice. It smells divine after an hour or 2!

 Step 5: Cook rice according to directions. Add in chopped cilantro when finished, fluff with a fork.

Step 6: Serve curry over rice, and enjoy! The chicken is so tender and flavorful, the potatoes and chickpeas add a nutty, soft texture, and the green beans are cooked perfectly. You could certainly omit the chicken and maybe add extra veggies like eggplant or mushrooms to make this a hearty vegetarian dish. I will definitely make this again, especially since I have all the spices now. I will remember to get coconut milk next time though!

Quick & Easy App: Bruschetta

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Bruschetta is one of my favorite appetizers, but it always irritates me how expensive 2 little pieces of bread with the equivalent on 1 tomato on it is. Since I had some homemade bread in the freezer and some tomatoes that needed used, I decided to make my own for cheap!
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Ingredients:
1 long, thin loaf of homemade bread (or 1 loaf Italian or garlic bread)
2 roma tomatoes, diced small
1/4 onion, diced small
Italian seasonings
Garlic salt
1 tbsp lemon juice
2-3 tbsp Parmesan cheese
Nonstick cooking spray
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Step 1: Slice the bread into small, thin pieces
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Step2: Dice up tomatoes & onion very small. In a bowl, combine with seasonings and lemon juice.

Step 3: Sprinkle a healthy tablespoon of topping onto each piece.

Step 4: Bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes, until crispy on top. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

Serve warm, and try to keep from eating the whole loaf at once!

Creative leftovers: Butternut Squash Mac n Cheese

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The best recipes in my opinion are the ones that either get eaten the first time around, or lead to easy leftover combinations. I hate to see food go to waste, and unfortunately when you’re cooking for only 1 or 2 people that can happen quite often.
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You make something that tastes great the first time, and the second time, but by days 3 and up you are sick of it. So it sits in the back of the fridge, hidden by water bottles and fresher produce until you clean out your fridge tri-monthly and get grossed out by the mold and bacteria on it.
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Therefore I try to cook things which easily lend themselves to meal makovers to dress up the leftovers and make it feel like a whole new meal. So I took some macaroni & cheese I’d made earlier, leftover chicken, and bruchetta topping (since the bread was now mush) and mixed it up for a super-easy, quick & healthy lunch.
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Less wasted food = more money in your pocket = win-win.
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Ingredients:
2 diced roma tomatoes
1/4 white onion, diced small
3-4 oz cooked chicken breast (or meat of choice, or no meat if you prefer)
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Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Microwave on high 1-2 minutes. You can sprinkle with extra cheese, or add any kind of cooked veggies you like. Enjoy!

 

Doritos-crusted chicken tenders

My brother had crusted some fresh mahi mahi with Doritos once, and it was amazing. I had about 2 cups of Doritos left in a bag, mostly little pieces, just enough to irritate you. So I decided to make some Doritos chicken.

Ingredients:
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into tenders

1 egg, beaten
2 cups crushed Doritos
Step 1: Smash up the Doritos. Beat the egg. Slice the chicken. These steps should take ~5minutes.

Step 2: Coat the chicken in the egg. Roll it in the Doritos until coated. Place on a sprayed cookie sheet.

Step 3: Bake at 350 for at least 45 minutes up to 1 hour, until the chicken is not at all pink.

Enjoy! I had this with my Butternut squash mac-n-cheese, and it was great!

Easy side dish: Oven-Roasted Vegetables

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This is seriously one of the best side dishes ever! You can use literally any vegetable you have on hand, it takes only a few minutes, and it is super healthy AND tasty. I could eat oven-roasted veggies with every meal and not get tired of it.
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Ingredients:
1 baking potato, diced
1/2 onion, cut into strips
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1 large carrot, diced
1/2 zucchini, diced
1/2 yellow squash, diced
3 tbsp olive oil
Nature’s Seasoning
Garlic salt
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Step 1: Dice up your veggies. This is the only work you have to do.
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Step 2: Coat your veggies in olive oil, put into an oven-safe pan.
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Step 3: Sprinkle with seasonings. Bake at 350 for ~20 minutes or until potatoes are fork-tender.
You could use any kind of potato here, add broccoli, cauliflower, turnips, parsnips, bok choi, kale, mushrooms, eggplant, the list goes on and on. Enjoy!

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Butternut squash mac-n-cheese (Bonus snack)

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So I came across a recipe for butternut squash macaroni and cheese, and since it is getting into the fall season (and sounded delicious) I decided to try it. I had most of the ingredients, I just needed to buy the squash and some cheese. Of course, I made it my own as I always do. You can find the full nutrition info here.
 
Ingredients:
1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into cubes (Save the seeds for a bonus snack!)
1 1/2 cup skim milk
1 cup chicken stock
1 tbsp brown sugar
Sprinkle black pepper & salt
1/2 pound macaroni of choice (I used elbow)
2/3 pound fresh Cheddar
1/2 cup skim cottage cheese
1/4 cup Parmesan
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
 

Step 1: Get water for pasta boiling. Meanwhile, peel and dice squash. Put squash, stock and milk in a pan, simmer 10-15 minutes until squash is fork-tender. Boil the pasta ~ 8 minutes and drain.

 Step 2: Put squash into blender (or mash) to make it smooth. Add salt, pepper, sugar.

 Step 3: Put macaroni into a greased pan, pour squash over top. Add cheeses and mix well. Cover with foil & bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

Step 4: Uncover, sprinkle bread crumbs and parmesan on top. Bake uncovered for another 20-30 minutes, until golden and crispy on top.

 Step 5: Let cool, scoop out a helping and enjoy!


Bonus snack!
While peeling and dicing the squash, save the seeds. Rinse thoroughly to get rid of slimy part. Sprinkle sea salt over top. Toast the seeds in the oven at 350 for ~20 minutes, stirring at least once. The seeds are light and smoky, and taste like fall! I could eat bushels of these things!



Shepherd’s Pie my way

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As you can see in a post prior to this, I had recently made a large amount of mashed potatoes & cauliflower. I had quite a bit left over, so I was browsing some of my favorite recipe web sites for ideas. I wanted to make pierogi (I am slovak & polish you know) but I was out of eggs (used my last one in my breakfast BELT recipe!) so I couldn’t make the dough.
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Then I stumbled across this recipe for “Italian Irishman’s pie” on Allrecipes.com. It used sausage instead of beef in shepherd’s pie. Since I had a pack of Johnsonville Cheddarwurst Brats in the freezer, I figured this could work. So with what I had on hand, I pared it down to serve two (since a large amount of food almost always goes to waste) and gave it a try. It came out pretty tasty!
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Ingredients:
2 brats, sliced thin (reserve the drippings)
2 tbsp flour
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup cream or milk
Salt & pepper
1/2 zucchini, diced
1/2 yellow squash, diced
1/2 onion, diced
1 – 2 cups mashed potatoes
Optional: 2 slices cheese, or 1/2 cup shredded cheese
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Step 1: Cook the brats until they’re done, put into a loaf pan.

Step 2: To drippings, add flour & brown for 2 minutes. Add water, cream, salt & pepper to taste, whisk until smooth. Bring to a boil, cook until thickened. Pour the gravy over the brats.

Step 3: In the same pan, add diced vegetable. Cook until tender, stirring often, about 10 minutes. Add the zucchini, squash and onion to the loaf pan.

Step 4: Layer the mashed potatoes on top of everything. Season with salt & pepper to taste.

Now you have layered your sausage, gravy, veggies and potatoes. You can brush the top with some melted butter or margarine if you like.

Step 5: Bake in the oven set to 350 for 20 minutes.

Step 6: The gravy and potatoes should be bubbly. I added 2 slices of colby cheese on top and put it back in the oven for another 5 minutes to melt.

Step 7: Spoon a big helping onto a plate and enjoy! You can top with extra shredded cheese and salt/pepper if you like.

Delicious, filling and not as bad for you as you might think, assuming you used the potatoes/cauliflower mixture!

Mashed potato & cauliflower

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I have read about mashed cauliflower several times and never had tried it. Since my grocery store had cauliflower on sale this week, I decided to give it a go. Cauliflower has far less calories than potatoes, and aren’t starchy. So you can eat more of this when you mix half and half, and not feel guilty!
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Ingredients:
3 small potatoes
1 large head cauliflower, cut into florets
3 tbsp butter or margarine
1/4 cup milk
Optional: 2-3 green onions
Garlic salt
Large pot of water
Salt
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Step 1: Put several cups of water on the stove to boil, adding salt to make it boil faster. Rinse and dice the potatoes (you can peel them if you don’t like the taste, but the peel is where most of the nutrients are so I left mine on.)  Cut up the cauliflower.
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Step 2: Boil the potatoes and cauliflower together for 10-15 minutes, until both are easily smashed with a fork.
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Step 3: Using a spoon or a mixer, mash the potatoes and cauliflower together. Level of smoothness vs. chunkiness is personal preference, I made mine pretty smooth. Mix in butter or margerine and milk. Add garlic salt to taste.
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Step 4: Optional – slice green onions thinly and add for crunch and flavor.

These taste almost exactly like simple potatoes, so if you don’t tell I won’t! 😉

 

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Breakfast BELT with avocado & feta

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I’ve read several articles lately that say a breakfast with eggs are the most filling. Since it was the weekend, and I had one egg left and several veggies in the fridge I had just bought yesterday, I wanted to make a super-healthy and filling breakfast.
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Tim Horton’s makes a breakfast BELT sandwich with bacon, egg, lettuce and tomato on a bagel. To lighten it up, I used one slice of wheat bread as the “B” and in place of the bagel, no bacon, lettuce tomato one egg and added a slice of avocado and a sprinkle of feta for healthy fat and flavor.
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Ingredients:
1 slice wheat bread
1 egg
1 tbsp oil
1 romaine leaf
1/2 roma tomato
1 slice avocado
1 tbsp feta cheese
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Step 1: Put 1 tbsp in a pan, and fry the egg. If you like the yellow, you can leave it runny. I cooked it all the way through.

Step 2: While the egg is cooking, layer the lettuce, tomato, avocado and 1 tbsp feta on a slice of wheat bread (toasted or not).

Step 3: Lay the cooked egg on top of the feta, and enjoy! The feta gives it a tangy flavor, while the avocado is creamy and soft. If you’re vegan you can omit the egg and cheese.

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