Indian Butter Chicken

This is a variation of an Indian dish.  My recipe is adapted from The Modern Proper.

Materials

  • A large skillet with a lid

Ingredients

  • Olive oil
  • Small yellow onion, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tbsp fresh ginger
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 3/4 cup chicken stock
  • 6 oz (one can) tomato paste
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp tumeric
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1.5 pounds chicken, diced into bite-sized chunks
  • 1 head of cauliflower, chopped into bite-sized chunks
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 cup heavy cream

Steps

  1. Heat some olive oil in the skillet, then add the onions, garlic, and ginger.  Sauté for a couple of minutes, until the onions begin to soften.  Your significant other may saunter through the kitchen at this point and compliment the fragrance; children might run away.
  2. Stir in, and bring to a simmer:
    • butter
    • chicken stock
    • tomato paste
    • cinnamon
    • cumin
    • garam masala
    • tumeric
    • salt
  3. Add chicken and cauliflower, and stir until coated.
    • Don’t be alarmed, the previous steps leave you with a paste, not a sauce, and the chicken and cauliflower might seem a little dry.
  4. Cover and simmer on low for about 15 minutes to cook the chicken through.
  5. Remove the cover and stir in lemon juice and heavy cream.  Bring back to a simmer, and cook for a couple of minutes to finish.

Serve over rice and/or naan bread.

Korean Beef Rice Bowls

This recipe was an instant hit.  I have to make a double batch if I want leftovers for the next day.

It pairs well with steamed veggies like broccoli or edamame.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 bunch of scallions, sliced as a garnish
  • Rice (white or brown, your choice)

Sauce

  • 1/4 up packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce, reduced sodium is preferred
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Steps

  1. Start some rice while you prepare the rest
  2. Brown the hamburger and garlic in a pan.  Break it up into crumbles as it browns.
  3. While the hamburger is cooking, whisk the sauce ingredients (brown sugar, soy sauce, red pepper, black pepper)
  4. When the hamburger is browned, drain off the fat and pour in the sauce.  Simmer for a minute or two.  Mix in the scallions.
  5. Serve over rice

Adapted from therecipecritic.com

Lentil Soup

When I was a kid I disliked soups and stews, and hated even the idea of lentil soup.  Fortunately I became more open-minded as an adult, and found that I absolutely love lentil soup.  It’s very healthy for you, to boot.

The red lentils in this recipe break down and make a very creamy soup.  Green and brown lentils may be substituted, but black lentils don’t work out well.

Equipment

  • Dutch oven, or a large pot

Ingredients

  • 2 medium carrots, diced or sliced
  • 1  medium yellow onion, diced
  • olive oil (about 3 tablespoons)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth, about 1 ½ boxes of store-bought
    • Substitute with vegetable broth for a vegan soup
  • 2 cups dried red lentils (about 1 pound)
    • Rinse under cold water until the water runs clear, roughly a minute

Alternatives

You can try other vegetables as substitutes or additions, including sweet potatoes, butternut squash, mushrooms, celery, or whatever you have on hand.

Steps

  1. Heat dutch oven over medium heat with olive oil, until it shimmers
  2. Sauté carrots and onion until softened (maybe 5 minutes)
  3. Add garlic, curry powder, cumin, thyme, and salt.  Cook until fragrant (about a minute)
  4. Stir in lentils, tomato sauce, and broth
  5. Bring to a simmer and cover
  6. Cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally

Optionally, stir in (up to) 5 cups of spinach before serving.

Adapted from The Absolute Best Lentil Soup.

Beef Kebabs

I am shocked, shocked I tell you! that my children actually enjoyed this recipe.  I’m not sure why, perhaps they have given up all hope of enjoying a decent meal from my kitchen and now sullenly submit to my demands that they eat the goddamn food that I paid for and worked hard to put in front of them and it’s not like you do any chores around…  Ahem.  I got a little off track here.

Whatever the reason, they ate this one on my first attempt.

These are basically middle-eastern meatballs.  You can cut in other things with the meat, serve them in a variety of ways, whatever floats your boat.  (I rather enjoyed wrapping them in some naan with rice.)  It’s a meatball.  It’s the spices that make it.

The oven instructions are below.  We haven’t grilled them yet, but they should do great, just use a little grill-sense.  It’s a reasonably easy and fast recipe, ~20 minutes to prep and ~20 minutes to cook.

The recipe plus rice and other sides makes enough for 6-8 people.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds of ground beef – don’t get a lean mix!  80-85% seems good
    • mix in other ground meats as your fancy takes you, but you need some fats – don’t go too lean
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley, or 1/4 cup dried
  • 1/2 small onion, diced fine
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced fine
  • Garlic, 3-4 minced cloves
  • Paprika, 1 tsp
  • Salt, 1 tsp
  • Cumin, 1/2 tsp
  • Pepper, 1/2 tsp

Directions

If you plan on skewering the meat, and you’re using bamboo or wood skewers, soak them in water for ~30 mins.

  1. Preheat oven too 350°
  2. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl (don’t overmix)
  3. Form the mix into oblong patties, about kielbasa-thick
    • If you’re skewering, shove in the skewers now or form the patties around the skewers
  4. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, or grill for ~20 minutes, flipping at least once
  5. For the last couple of minutes turn on the broiler to brown the meat

Usual disclaimer with ground meat dishes: make sure the internal temp is at least 160° before serving.

Serve with some traditional middle-eastern sides, like:

  • Naan bread
  • Tabbouleh
  • Cucumbers and cherry tomatoes
  • Rice

kebab with rice and naan

Stir-Fried Udon Noodles with Pork

Recipe Notes

  • Requires a large skillet.  Our 14″ cast iron is the perfect size.  It’s not quite a one-pot meal, because there’s a swap of ingredients in the middle, but it’s close.
  • Mirin is like sweet sake syrup.  The Japanese equivalent of cooking sherry, you should be able to find bottles of it in the grocery store.
  • The original recipe was pretty strict about amounts, but we’ve found that this recipe is pretty tolerant of variation.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups very coarsely chopped green cabbage (from about ¼ medium head)
    • Substitute 1 bag of dry slaw, 2 if you’re really feeling it
  • 2 x 7-ounce packages instant udon noodles
    • discard any flavor packets, if they’re included
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • Ground pork, between a 1/2 and 1 pound
    • Substitute a similar amount of shiitake mushrooms to make this a vegetarian dish
  • Scallions, around a half-dozen
    • Chop the white parts
    • thinly slice the dark green parts and set aside for later
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • ⅓ cup mirin
  • ⅓ cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds, plus more for serving
  • Vegetable oil

Steps

  1. Put six cups of water on to boil while you work on step 2
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add cabbage and cook, tossing often, until edges are browned, about 4 minutes. Reduce heat to low and continue to cook, tossing often, until thickest parts of cabbage leaves are tender, about 4 minutes longer. Remove from heat and set skillet aside.
  3. While the cabbage is finishing on low heat:
    1. Place udon in a large heatproof bowl (or pot if you don’t have one) and cover with 6 cups boiling water. Let sit 1 minute, stirring to break up noodles, then drain in a colander.
    2. Transfer noodles back to bowl and toss with sesame oil.
  4. Transfer cabbage to bowl with noodles. Wipe out skillet.
  5. Heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in same skillet over medium-high and add pork, breaking up and spreading across surface of pan with a spatula or tongs.
  6. Cook pork, undisturbed, until underside is brown, about 3 minutes. The pork will never brown if you’re fussing with it the whole time, so when we say “undisturbed,” that means keep your paws off it and let the heat of the pan and the pork do their thing.
  7. When pork is browned, break up meat into small bits. Cook, tossing, just until there’s no more pink, about 1 minute.
  8. Add chopped scallions (the pale parts), ginger, and red pepper. Continue to cook, tossing often, until scallions are softened and bottom of skillet has started to brown, about 1 minute.
  9. Add udon mixture, mirin, and soy sauce and cook, tossing constantly, until noodles are coated in sauce (be sure to scrape bottom of skillet to dissolve any browned bits), about 45 seconds.
  10. Remove skillet from heat and fold in 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds and dark-green parts of scallions. Top with more sesame seeds before serving.

Adapeted from https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/stir-fried-udon-with-pork

 

Classic Marinara Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 28-ounce can whole San Marzano tomatoes, certified D.O.P. if possible
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 7 garlic cloves, peeled and slivered
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 large fresh basil sprig, or 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano, more to taste

Steps

  1. Pour the tomatoes into a bowl and crush them with your hands
    1. Afterwards, fill the can about 1/4 to 3/4 way with water; slosh around to capture the tomato juices and bits, and set aside for a moment.
    2. Use more water if you want a lot of sauce, or are finishing meatballs, or want it to simmer for a long time.  Use less water if you don’t have much time
  2. Slice the garlic cloves as fine as you can
  3. Put the pan on medium heat and add the olive oil
  4. When the olive oil starts to shimmer, toss in the garlic and let it sizzle
  5. BEFORE the garlic starts to brown, pour in the tomatoes, followed by the water from the can, and sprinkle on the oregano and pepper flakes.  If you’re using fresh basil, lay it on top.
  6. Turn down the heat and let the sauce simmer for 30 minutes to an hour.  It will get a nice orange-y color to the top.  You can reduce it until there’s no visible water, but no more than that – remove it from the heat if you reach that point!

Notes

  • This recipe is great because it’s tasty and doesn’t take a lot of extra work, but it does take time.  Expect prep plus cooking to be an hour.
  • You really want to use a heavy stainless pan, 12″ or larger.
  • Our local grocery store carries canned whole San Marzano tomatoes, and they are certified D.O.P., but they already have basil added (so we don’t actually put additional basil in).
  • I’ve tried using canned crushed tomatoes but it messes with the texture and flavor.  Crushing them yourself is easy yet so satisfying.
  • Our best experience was making meatballs at the same time, and finishing them off in the sauce.  The sauce picked up some extra flavors that made it sublime.

Source: https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1015987-classic-marinara-sauce

Sausage and Vegetable Roast

This is a kind of suggestion-type recipe, throw in your favorite vegetables and ignore the ones you don’t like (or don’t want to do today).

Ingredients

  • Two medium-sized red potatoes
  • 1 head of broccoli (or cauliflower)
  • 2 bell peppers (use two different colors, for the look)
  • 1/2 pound green beans (a couple of handfuls)
  • 1 bunch of asparagus
  • 3/4 pound of sausage
  • Olive oil
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Steps

  1. Heat up an oven to 400° F
  2. Cut up the potatoes into small (less than 1 inch) pieces. If they’re too big they won’t cook fast enough
  3. Cut up the broccoli, peppers, and asparagus into comfortably-bite-size pieces, and snap the stems off the beans
  4. Slice the sausage into “coins”
  5. Toss veggies, sausage, cheese, and spices into a large bowl with enough olive oil to lightly coat everything (a few tablespoons)
  6. Spread out onto a couple of pans
    1. Everything should be a single layer; doubling up will lead to a mix of burnt and raw bits
  7. Bake for 15 minutes
  8. Flip the veggies and reverse the pans top to bottom
  9. Bake for another 10-15 minutes

Serve with brown rice!

Variations

Swap in a cup of any of the following:

  • butternut squash
  • zucchini
  • sliced carrots
  • a sweet potato
  • turnip
  • radishes
  • sliced jalapeños
  • cherry tomatoes (cut in half)
  • red onions
  • mushrooms

Cup-Eggs, Keto style

Terrible photo including my nasty muffin tin. But they are very yummy.

We can take the long personal story as read, yeah? Straight into the recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 12 eggs
  • 2 or 3 glugs* of heavy cream
  • diced peppers (two colors, at least, for the pretty)
  • Mexi-cheese

What is a glug, you ask?Tip over the jug, and stop pouring when it has made the glug noise the stated number of times. Yes, it is a technical term!

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350.
  2. Mix all 12 eggs and the cream in a bowl using a whisk or a fork. It should get a little frothy, but not too bad.
  3. Pull out a muffin pan, and either spray the cups with cooking spray, or use cupcake papers (which is what I do because my muffin pans are ancient and rusty).
  4. Pour a roughly equal amount of egg/cream mixture into each cup.
  5. Drop some of the peppers into each cup.
  6. Drop a good-sized pinch of Mexi-cheese (or the shredded cheese of your choice) into each cup.
  7. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.

Understand – these are all guidelines. You don’t need to use peppers (asparagus is yummy), or Mexi-cheese. If you can’t handle dairy, coconut oil is a great substitute. Try things! Make mistakes! Enjoy!

Super Spicy Gingerbread Cookies

Source:

Genius Kitchen’s Spicy Gingerbread Cookies

Notes:

  • Use metal cookie sheets, not a baking stone. You’re going straight from the fridge to a nice hot oven. The stone will not survive the transfer.
  • Use plenty of flour on your cutting surface.
  • Cut the dough into pieces of about a third of the dough each, and only pull one of them out of the fridge at a time to roll out and cut.
  • You are going to use so much plastic wrap with this recipe.
  • Its totally worth it.
  • To get the different colors of frosting, I usually get the biggest thing of vanilla frosting I can, and food color bits of it in sandwich bags. Cut off the tip of one corner and hey-presto decorating bags!

Ingredients:

  • 6 c flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 c softened butter
  • 1 c brown sugar, packed
  • 4 tsp ground ginger
  • 4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 lg eggs
  • 1 c unsulphated molasses

Directions:

  1. Sift together the first three ingredients in a side bowl (not the one you plan on mixing everything in, you will regret that if you try)
  2. In a mixer with a big bowl, cream butter and sugar
  3. Add spices & salt, then eggs, then molasses
  4. Slowly add flour mixture (not kidding about the speed – try to do it fast, and the whole thing explodes into a powdery mess)
  5. Combine everything at low speed
  6. Wrap the dough ball in plastic wrap, and chill for an hour
  7. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  8. Put down parchment paper and flour it really well
  9. Roll to 1/8 inch thickness (WHO ACTUALLY DOES THAT? I usually do 1/4)
  10. Cut with cookie cutters, and place them on the cookie sheet
  11. Chill the sheet with the cookies on it for 15 min
  12. Go straight from the fridge to the oven
  13. Cook for 8-10 min
Cool completely before decorating.

Last-Minute Chicken

This recipe is shamelessly copied from https://iwashyoudry.com/last-minute-chicken-recipe, which itself copied the recipe from “The Weekday Lunches & Breakfasts Cookbook.”

Ingredients

 

  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons paprika OR smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 ½ teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • Enough olive oil to coat chicken
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)

Directions

  1. Combine the garlic, onion, paprika, oregano, pepper, salt, and olive oil into a freezer bag
  2. Toss in the chicken
    • Most pre-packaged chicken thighs get folded into themselves, so be sure to spread them out as you put them into the bag so they get evenly coated
  3. Seal up the bag and mix everything thoroughly
  4. Heat up a grill pan over medium-high heat, or a grill, while the chicken steeps in it’s spices
    • If using a grill pan, add some olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan – but be sure to use a splatter guard
  5. Cook the chicken until not pink throughout, about 5 minutes on the first side and three or four minutes on the other side