Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Indian Spiced Chicken and Curried Quinoa with Chickpeas

My love for Indian spices is pretty well known; I have invested in quite a few "staples" in the Indian food cuisine, including some I picked up at an Indian market in NYC a few weeks ago, so whenever I find a recipe that uses any of them I have to give it a try.

This entire meal comes from Erin's Food Files. The chicken is originally from Cook.com and the quinoa is actually a Weight Watchers recipe! All in all, it's a pretty healthy and easy meal to make and is VERY flavorful and delicious. We loved it!

Indian Spiced Chicken
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon water
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon ginger, ground
1/2 teaspoon cumin, ground
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, ground
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon lemon juice
4 boneless/skinless chicken breasts
4 lemon wedges

In small bowl, stir together oil and garlic. Stir in water, paprika, ginger, coriander, cumin, nutmeg, turmeric and cayenne pepper.

Spoon 1 tbsp into another small bowl; stir in lemon juice and set aside. Arrange chicken in single layer in shallow glass dish; brush with remaining spice mixture. Cover and refrigerate chicken for at least 1 hour.

Place chicken on greased grill over medium-high heat; close lid and cook for 5 minutes.

Turn and brush with reserved lemon mixture. Close lid and cook, turning often, until chicken is no longer pink inside and juices run clear when chicken is pierced.

Serve with lemon wedges.

Curried Quinoa with Chickpeas
1/2 cup quinoa
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 tsp curry powder
3/4 tsp table salt
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup cooked frozen peas and carrots, thawed
5 oz canned chickpeas, (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
2 Tbsp sliced almonds, toasted (we left out)
1/8 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
1/4 cup golden seedless raisins
2 medium scallions, chopped (we left out)
1 Tbsp cilantro, fresh, chopped
1 tsp orange zest, grated

Combine the quinoa, orange juice, water, curry powder, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, the cumin, and allspice in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the liquid is absorbed, 12–15 minutes.

Heat the oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, and peas and carrots; cook, stirring frequently, until slightly softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in the chickpeas and almonds; cook, stirring, about 2 minutes longer. Remove the skillet from the heat, then stir in the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and the pepper.

Transfer the quinoa mixture to a large bowl. Stir in the raisins, scallions, cilantro, and orange zest; toss well. Stir in the chickpea mixture and serve at once or let the mixture cool to room temperature before serving. Yields 1 1/3 cup per serving.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Crispy Cashew Chicken Stir-Fry

I have a deep love for Asian food - especially the fried type - so I was drawn to this recipe immediately when I came across it on Stephanie Cooks. There are heathier ways to make it but if you're in the mood for a crunchy, breaded chicken dish, this is easy and tasty.

The sauce was easily thrown together with ingredients I had on hand - you can tweak it depending upon what's in your fridge. Stir fry is always an easy, quick way to use up things you have on hand and a great meal for weeknights!

Jason is really not big on veggies - especially cooked broccoli, snow peas, and carrots - so I figured I'd eat that all on my own. Instead, the broccoli soaked up all that delicious sauce and was by far my favorite part of the meal. I'm a huge carnivore and I found myself wishing for just a bowl of the broccoli. Even Jason ate it!

When I make this again, I'll double the sauce recipe. The sauce as written was plenty to coat the vegetables and chicken but not enough to drizzle over the rice.

Crispy Cashew Chicken Stir-Fry
2-3 boneless/skinless chicken breasts halves, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup cornstarch
1-2 egg, beaten
Oil (vegetable or canola)
1/3 cup cashews
2 cups fresh or frozen stir fried Asian veggie mix
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1/2 tsp chili garlic sauce
1 tbsp teriyaki or Hoisin sauce

Pour the cornstarch over the diced chicken and toss until evenly coated.

Meanwhile, heat a skillet with a thin layer of oil that just covers the bottom of the pan.

Once the oil is hot, work in batches dipping each piece of chicken in the beaten egg and frying on all sides until cooked through and browned. Remove from the pan.

Add the cashews and veggies to the pan. Stir until heated though.

In a small bowl combine the soy sauce, rice vinegar, chili garlic sauce, and teriyaki sauce. Stir well. Pour over the veggies and cashews, stirring well.

Return the chicken to the pan, stirring until all chicken is coated in sauce.

Serve with rice, if desired.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

M&M Sugar Cookie Bars

In some ways, cookie bars are easier than traditional cookies to make. You don't have to make sheet after sheet of them, pull them off to cook on wire racks, or shape each one. You just throw the batter in a baking pan and let it bake. My kind of baking!

I came across these on Stephanie Cooks and they looked fun, easy, and used ingredients I always have on hand. The batter itself took less than 10 minutes to throw together - just as long as a box mix would take. She says to mix the dry and wet ingredients together and pour into the pan - my batter was quite thick, not liquidy, so I actually used my hands to just mix the ingredients together and pressed it into the pan. I was worried something was wrong but they turned out perfect!

They are buttery and sweet, just like a sugar cookie, with the crunch and color of an M&M. An easy, throw together treat.

This recipe is enough for an 8x8 pan, not a 9x13, but you could easily double the recipe and just watch the baking time.

M&M Sugar Cookie Bars
1 stick butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
3/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1.5 cups flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder

Preheat the oven to 350.

Melt the butter in a large mixing bowl. Stir in the sugar.

Once it's slightly cooled (about 3 minutes) beat in the egg and vanilla.

In a separate bowl combine the flour and baking powder. Stir this into the wet mixture.

Pour into a greased 8x8 baking dish (or similar size). Bake for approximately 15 minutes.

Pull out of the oven and top with M&Ms, gently pressing them into the dough.

Return to the oven and bake for an additional 10-12 minutes, or until the top is set and the cookies don't wiggle when you shake the pan. They should still be white with barely golden edges.

Cool completely in the pan before slicing. Yields 9 cookie bars.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Avocado Enchiladas

It's hard to take a picture of enchiladas, especially since they often fall apart as you're lifting them out of the pan. So, instead, you get a picture of the final dish smothered in cheesy goodness.

When I came across this recipe on Apple a Day, I knew I had to make it. This recipe is completely out of the norm for me. For one, avocados are pricey - and so is cheese - so the dish cost a lot more than I would normally spend. And, it's a time consuming recipe. But, a really good dish is often worth the cost and effort and this was, actually, really good.

This is the filling. How can this not be good?

Jason was drooling as I was cooking; it had all his favorite ingredients! Beer, avocados, cilantro, and a full pound of cheese. He was even able to overlook the lack of meat - which says a lot.

Like I mentioned above, this does take some time to make so it'd be a great weekend recipe. The blogger recommends to make the sauce ahead of time, to let the flavors meld together, so I made the sauce the night before and just kept it in the fridge. Since you dip each tortilla in the sauce by hand, I was very thankful that my sauce had not just stopped simmering on the stove! This sauce was fairly sweet but good. You could always use your own favorite enchilada sauce instead. It does call for a chipotle pepper but after our experience with the pad thai recipe, I cut it completely. After tasting the sauce, I decided it needed some kick so I added hot sauce to it until it tasted right.

Be sure and take the time to fry each tortilla; it does take time, and another pan, but the tortillas will get mushy in the sauce without it.

This would also be delicious with some tequila lime shrimp mixed into the avocado!

Avocado Enchiladas
For the sauce:
2 TBSP vegetable oil
1/2 yellow onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 TBSP cumin
3 TBSP dried oregano
1 chipotle in adobo, minced (I replaced with hot sauce to taste)
1 can beer (we used the entire bottle)
1 twenty-eight ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 c. vegetable broth (I used chicken)

For the enchiladas:
8 ripe avocados, chopped
1/2 red onion, finely diced (I skipped)
1 c. cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
Juice of two limes
1 tsp. salt
20 corn tortillas
1/3 c. canola oil
1 lb. Monterey Jack Cheese, shredded

Prepare the sauce by heating one tsp. oil in sauce pan. Add onion and saute for five minutes or until soft. Add garlic, cumin, oregano, and chipotle and saute two more minutes. Add beer, tomatoes, and broth. Let simmer for 20 minutes. Can be made two days in advance.

Prepare the filling by tossing together the avocado, cilantro, red onion, lime juice and salt.

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

In saucepan, heat oil over medium flame for about five minutes. Once oil is hot, fry tortillas one at a time for one minute each side, or until lightly brown and blistered. Remove and blot on brown grocery bag or paper towel.

Spread 1/2 c. red sauce on the bottom of a casserole dish.

To assemble enchiladas, dip fried tortillas in pot of remaining red sauce, spoon three heaping tablespoons of avocado filling in each tortilla and sprinkle with some cheese. Roll up and arrange rolled tortillas side by side in casserole dish. Pour remaining sauce over tortillas and sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Take foil off and bake for another five minutes.

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Very Versatile Frittata

As soon as we got back from NYC, I jumped right into a crazy work week and weekend (including an all-nighter that I'm still recovering from!). I made a grocery list days ago but still hadn't gotten to the store. So, last night I dug through the freezer to see what I could make.

A frittata is truly one of the most versatile meals you can make - and SO quick and easy. A piece of cake to throw together.

I used this dish as a guideline but completely switched out the veggie and protein. I used brown sugar ham (frozen, from Easter), chopped broccoli (frozen), and shredded Asiago cheese that I had leftover from another dish. I even found some fresh herbs to throw in! Swap out anything you have on hand and in about 15 minutes, you can have an entire pan of deliciousness ready for dinner.

2 tablespoons butter
Box of frozen chopped broccoli, thawed (I used a little less than a full box)
A few handfuls of chopped ham
1 cup Asiago Cheese, shredded
6-7 large eggs
2 tablespoons fresh sage, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Preheat broiler. In 10-inch ovenproof skillet, heat butter. Put the thawed broccoli in the pan and cook a few minutes. Remove from heat and throw in the ham and cheese.

In medium bowl, beat eggs with sage, parsley, salt and pepper. Pour egg mixture over ham and broccoli mixture. Gently toss together. Return skillet to stove over medium-low heat; cook until frittata edges are set, 3 to 5 minutes. Place frittata under preheated broiler, 5 inches from heat for 3 minutes, or until golden and puffed. Remove from broiler and let stand 5 minutes before cutting.

The Big Apple (and the food that goes with it!)

Wow, I can't believe it's been so long since I uploaded a post! After Easter, things got crazy around here - and we took a little trip to my favorite city in the world:

Which, as you probably know, is a foodie's dream destination. The amount of restaurants is unimaginable - I loved just peering in windows, glancing over posted menu's, and soaking in all the new concepts in dining that are out there (not to mention the markets! and street vendors! and surplus of Starbucks!)

While there, we explored this amazing Italian spot called Eately. It's massive; at first glance, you think you're entering into a simple storefront espresso bar but then the store continues... and continues... and continues... You see things like this:

And around another corner, see rows of this:

There is also a gelato bar, large cheese selection, wine and cheese dining area, seafood counter, three restaurants, kitchen appliance and cookbook section, fresh produce area, and more. Seriously, I could move in and have all I ever needed for the rest of my life. It was always jam packed with people and there isn't any wonder as to why! If you're in Manhattan, stop by - it's across from Madison Square Park, near the Flatiron Building.

We ate well while there but chose to not do any truly fine dining. I'm a fan of dressing up on vacation but Jason wasn't and quite frankly, hiking in heels through the subway and sidewalks of NY didn't sound all that appealing once we got there.

Five Napkin Burger was a restaurant previously recommended to me and ended up being one of the cheapest meals of the trip! I knew it was a winner when we stepped in at 6pm on a Thursday night and there was already a 20 minute wait and the place was packed with locals. The location we hit was down the street from the theater we were heading to (to see Rock of Ages). Their own brew was especially tasty and we split their 1 pound burger for two - which was massive and came with two sides to split:

No food lovers trip to NYC is complete without a stop by Chelsea Market (which is also where they film Food Network shows!). Through the windows, we saw things like:

And peered into windows where people were hard at work doing things like this:

On Saturday, we took a much needed break from pounding the pavement of the city and went to Long Island for a day of wine tasting. We ate seafood here in the town of Greenport before hitting the tasting rooms:

We had great food experiences: we ate hot dogs in Central Park; had lunch in the cellar of the world's largest store (Macy's); ate on the dock of Chelsea Pier; enjoyed sandwiches at a deli' had fajitas, sangria, and margarita's with old friends; and devoured Indian, Chinese, and Spanish food. And of course, grabbed snacks from street vendors along the way - and lots of iced coffee!

Since this is a food blog, I figured I'd focus on that aspect of your trip but fear not! We did not just eat our way through the city. We saw a TON in our 7 day trip in addition to the things listed above:

Central Park
Rockefeller Center
St. Patrick's Cathedral
The Met (including the AMAZING Alexander McQueen exhibit that recently opened!)
The Statue of Liberty
Ground Zero
Wall Street
Little Italy
Chelsea Pier Sports Complex (ie, driving range for Jason)
The High Line Park
Greenwich Village
Times Square
NBC Studio Tour (saw several SNL actors on the set)
Top of the Rock
Empire State Building
Rock of Ages, on Broadway

But most importantly, we spent time with our friends who live in Queens (Matt and Julie), had dinner with a friend from high school/college (Jeremiah), met a distant cousin (Micah), and spent lots of time with my Uncle George.

Now that we're home to stay for awhile, I have some new recipes I'm dying to try! 

See Aimee Cook

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