Tag Archives: recipe

Peanut Coconut Chicken Curry

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I have been making this dish for a long time, based on this recipe. Some of the ingredients in that recipe don’t fit into my own dietary restrictions (and some of that just seems bizarre–why use half and half with coconut extract when you can just use coconut milk?) so I decided to document what I actually do when I make this.

Oh, I also changed it to make it a one pan dinner. I don’t have the time or energy for recipes that use a bunch of skillets. Maybe my food would be better if I did, but this is a weeknight meal and my energy is limited after working all day. We all love this dish here–I nearly swooned when taste testing last time I made it–so I will stick with my one pot methods. We used to eat this over rice, but since we have been cutting back on the carbs, we just eat it as is, usually, although I sometimes make rice for the kids.

2 TBSP coconut oil
1 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into one inch chunks
1 can full fat coconut milk
1 – 2 cups chicken broth
1 TBSP sweet curry powder
1 – 2 TBSP sambal oelek (ground chili paste)
½ TBSP Bangkok blend
½ cup peanut butter
2 cups broccoli florets, chopped
2 cups spinach, fresh or frozen

Melt the coconut oil in a large skillet, then add the onions, garlic and chicken. Sautee until chicken is no longer pink. Add coconut milk, chicken broth and spices (including the chili paste). Stir well to combine and bring to a slow boil. Add peanut butter and mix well to melt the peanut butter and combine with the sauce. Add broccoli florets, cover and simmer for 10 – 15 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and the sauce is thickened a bit.

I am not a big measurer, I generally add ingredients until they look right, but this is pretty close to what I do. As an aside, I mentioned the new Gordon Foodservice near me an earlier menu planning post, and I have to tell you I am developing an unhealthy love for it already. I bought a huge bag of IQF chopped onions there, and I love them. I told my daughter her new stepfather is going to be a bag of onions, because I love them so much, I want to marry them. She just laughed at me. Is it so strange to love time-saving delicious things?

Low Carb Lamb Curry–Quick!

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This is not a fancy recipe. This is a “I need to use this lamb before it goes bad and I have a ton of zucchini from the garden and hey, look, there’s a can of coconut milk in the cupboard” type of recipe. It is not very pretty, either. But it was filling and good and I didn’t have to throw out expensive lamb or waste the fruit of my garden!

Quick and Easy Lamb and Zucchini Currylamb curry

1 TBSP coconut oil
1 large zucchini, sliced
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 pound ground lamb
1-2 TBSP Bangkok Blend seasoning from Penzey’s
½ tsp ground ginger
1 tsp dried cilantro
1 can coconut milk

Heat a large skillet and add  the coconut oil to melt. Cut the zucchini into sections about 1 inch wide and slice, adding to the skillet as you go. Mince the garlic and add to the skillet as well. Sautee for a minute or two, then add the lamb, breaking up with the spoon.

There was a lot of liquid in the skillet at this point, so I had to stir a lot to get the lamb cooked. You could brown the lamb in a separate skillet and add to the zucchini when done, but I wanted this to be quick and easy, so I just worked through it.

Add all spices and simmer for a few minutes to reduce the liquid a bit. Add coconut milk, bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer. Taste for seasoning. Allow the mixture to simmer for 10 minutes or so to thicken and blend seasonings. Taste again and adjust spices as needed.

This turned out to be more a soup than a traditional curry, although it was thicker the next day. You could also add a bit of cayenne pepper if desired. Fresh herbs and spices are always better, but this was a quick lunch I threw together while working, so I used the dried for speed and ease.

As I have been making the switch to low carb eating, I have had to change a lot about the way I eat and cook. For a while, it seemed like I was eating far too many of what I call component meals–meat, veg, salad, all separate. I like more complex flavors and dishes, and I like to make everything in one skillet, especially if I am cooking for only myself. This kind of recipe really helps me to feel like I am eating interesting food while staying on the low carb diet that seems to be helping me so much.

Unstuffed Cabbage Roll Skillet

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As a working mom, I am always looking for healthy meals I can make quickly. I am particularly fond of meals I can cook all in one skillet. Sure, I serve a veggie on the side sometimes, but most of those I throw in the microwave to steam, so they don’t take much time.

Going low-carb has been a challenge for me, because a lot of the one pot meals I have used in the past revolved around pasta or rice–I don’t miss a lot of the carbs, but I really miss risotto!–so I have been searching for some new skillet meals. I have never been a fan of the hunk of meat with side dishes type of meal that low-carb seems to lend itself to. I am beginning to see the appeal of that at times, but I still need some casserole/skillet type meals with more blended, complicated flavors to keep me interested.

I have done a form of thisunstuffed cabbage roll skillet many times as a vegetarian, with mashed potatoes as a base, but it is a great low carb recipe with hamburger and no potatoes. The kids even ate it fairly well, although they didn’t like the tomatoes much.

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Unstuffed Cabbage Roll Skillet

1.5 pounds ground beef
1 onion, diced
2-4 cloves garlic
1 14 ounce bag shredded cabbage
salt
freshly ground pepper
1 28 ounce can stewed tomatoes
1 TBSP dried parsley
1 TBSP dried oregano
1 tsp Mrs. Dash original flavor

Brown the hamburger in a large skillet over medium high heat. Chop the onions and garlic and add to the skillet as you go. Add the cabbage and the salt and pepper to taste, and continue to saute the meat and veggies, stirring often, until the meat is all browned. Add the stewed tomatoes, chopping into bite size pieces if necessary, and all spices. Stir well, bring to a boil, and then reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 – 15 minutes, until some of the liquid has reduced and the cabbage is tender.

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This is very simple food, but so yummy. I do think next time I will add some olive oil at the beginning to give this a little more fat–the meal was satisfying when we ate, but I was a bit hungry before bed. Also, a chopped bell pepper would be really good, but my kids are not fans of cooked peppers, so I didn’t add one this time.

Anyone else have some great easy low-carb dinners to share?

Curried Beef Stew

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I made beef stew last night, and it was so good I knew I had to document it before I forgot what I did. This recipe was the basis for my efforts, but I made a few changes. I didn’t measure the spices, so the numbers below are just guesses, but it should give the general idea.

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Curried Beef Stewstew

2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into bite size pieces
2 – 3 TBSP olive oil
2 – 4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 yellow squash (from my garden!)
2 cups beef broth
1 can diced tomatoes
2 TBSP sweet curry powder
1 – 2 tsp cumin seeds
½ – 1 tsp ground coriander

Fry the beef in the olive oil until mostly browned on all sides. Add the garlic and saute another minute or so, then add the squash. Chop the squash and add to the pot as you go–the thin top third of the squash, I cut in half and sliced, the middle third, I cut into 4 sections and sliced, and the thickest bottom part, I cut into six sections and sliced, so I got thin slices around 1 inch by ½ inch or so. Sautee for 2 – 3 minutes to get the squash softened, then add the tomatoes, broth and  spices and stir thoroughly.

Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes to let the flavors blend, stirring occasionally.

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I really couldn’t believe how well this turned out–and I bet it will be even better today! I had planned to make cauli-rice to serve with it, but I didn’t feel like it at the time, so I just served the stew in bowls alone. Everyone liked it, although my mother was over, and she thought it was a bit spicy. If she hadn’t been there, I might have put more spice in it, but I refrained because I know she doesn’t like things too hot.

Day 14: Persian Chicken and Rice/Quinoa

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I never seem to take pictures of the food I make any more. I used to do it all the time, the kids got used to waiting for the picture before digging in. Then our routines got disrupted and I got out of the habit. Heck, we just started eating dinner at the table regularly this week–something we used to do all the time! I have missed it. Sitting in front of the TV in the family room may be eating together, but it is nowhere near the same thing. The children’s table manners suffered, I tell you–we are not doing this a minute too soon.

To celebrate getting back to eating in the dining room, at the table, like civilized people, I wanted to find a new way to make chicken, one that we would all enjoy. In the interest of decluttering my house, I am trying to go through the cookbooks I haven’t used in a while to see if they are worth keeping, and I found the inspiration for this dish in an old Mr. Food series cookbook, Old World Cooking Made Easy. I like to add some quinoa to my rice dishes for extra protein, nutrition and interest, and I find that a  lot of recipes don’t have enough spice or veggies, although in this case it was extra fruit that I added to the dish.

This was definitely a hit–I had to tell the kids they couldn’t eat it all, I needed some for lunch the next day. We had steamed veggies on the side. It was also a nice easy dish, with some downtime to clear off the table, look through the mail and generally get a few things done while dinner was cooking. We will definitely be having this again!

Persian Chicken and Rice/Quinoa

1 TBSP olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1/2 cup dried apricots, cut into small pieces (use kitchen shears to make this go quickly)
1/3 cup raisins
~1.5 pounds chicken–we used boneless skinless thighs
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
several twists of freshly ground pepper
1 cup brown rice
1 cup quinoa
1 32 ounce container chicken broth

Sautee the onions in the olive oil for 2-3 minutes, until they start to soften. Add the apricots, raisins, cinnamon and pepper. Stir and sautee for 3-4 minutes longer, then add chicken. Brown the chicken on all side, then add the broth and stir well. Bring to a boil, then stir in the rice and quinoa; turn the heat down to a simmer and cook with a lid on the pot for 30 minutes, or until the broth is absorbed and the rice is cooked through.

Day 6: Brunch with Friends

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For those of you following along, Day 5 is indeed missing from here. I give away a lot of what I make, so sometimes I can’t share things publicly right away.

Yesterday, we had friends over for brunch, and I made what I think was some pretty yummy food. The various children involved had mixed feelings on the food; oddly enough, my normally picky daughter was the only child who liked everything. The adults were all happy, though, and no one starved, so I am calling it a success. My awesome friends did a bunch of dishes, too! I love people who do dishes, ;).

We had French toast casserole, hashbrowns with shaved Brussels Sprouts and pancetta, smoothies, coffee, and orange juice. The other mom and I had mimosas as well.

Once again, I forgot to take pictures until we had totally decimated the tablescape, but I can share the recipe for the French toast casserole. I based it on this Paula Deen recipe, but I adjusted it to be gluten and dairy free, plus a little lower in fat and sugar, and I added some fruit for extra nutrition.

Fruity French Toast Casserole

Smart Balance margarine
1 loaf Udi’s Whole Grain Gluten free bread
8 eggs
1 cup soy creamer
2 cups vanilla soy milk
2 TBSP pure maple syrup
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 – 2 cups frozen fruit–we use mixed berries most often, but anything would work
2-3 TBSP brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 13 baking dish with the margarine, then place the bread in overlapping layers in the dish, breaking pieces in half as need to fill in the edges.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, creamer, soy milk, maple syrup, cinnamon and nutmeg. When fully mixed, pour over the bread and let sit for 15 minutes or so. Sprinkle the fruit and brown sugar on top and place in the oven. I am guessing on the amount of fruit and brown sugar I used–I just added them until it looked good. I added less fruit this time than I might another time, in case picky children wanted to pick it off.

I did not keep track of the baking time, but I am guessing it was 45 – 55 minutes.

This is a very custardy casserole, which the boy does not like. It is weird for me, typing that last sentence–I used to think the boy liked everything! He is actually getting *more* picky as he gets older, of which I do not approve. We had enough variety with the smoothies and potato-y/bacon-y dish that everyone got enough to eat, though, and I do so love making brunch!

Of course, I was looking at my Pinterest board for Recipes to Try today, and now I am sad I didn’t make a big crockpot of pumpkin-spiced lattes, but we were all happy at the time. This is a good reminder to check my inspiration boards more often!

What is your favorite brunch dish? Or whole brunch menu?

 

Making Things: New Year’s Brunch

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Today my children went to their father’s to spend the rest of their winter break with him and their little brother. Before they left, I wanted to give them a good meal, full of veggies and love. They certainly eat veggies at their dad’s house, this has nothing to do with correcting any deficiencies there; I just like to express my love for them through caring for their physical health, and stuffing as many veggies into them as I possibly can. They are kids, they avoid the veggies whenever possible!

It is amazing to me how much I enjoy chopping fresh veggies and making a meal for the kids. I do like cooking, but the process of making food from scratch (mostly…), considering their nutritional needs as I cook, it makes me feel like I am doing something good and loving for them. Of course, I am, but I am continually surprised at how I notice this as I chop and cook. I enjoy cooking for myself when they are gone, but I really love cooking for them and knowing that my effort is going into them. It sounds cheesy to me as I read over this, but it is still true.

Here is a recipe for what I did today, but I do it differently other days, depending on what kind of veggies I have on hand. The hash browns are from Costco and are a staple in our house–the kids love them so much and they are fast and easy. I try to avoid processed foods for the most part, but sometimes fast trumps fresh, especially when it provides a vehicle for more fresh veggies, like this dish does. Also, I don’t have good measurements for a lot of the ingredients, because I throw things in as they occur to me, generally.

Brunch in a Skillet

1 box dehydrated hash browns
1-2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
½ an onion
2 oz. pancetta
1 yellow bell pepper
1 large clove of garlic from the garden
½ bag shaved Brussels Sprouts (from Trader Joe’s)
6 eggs
splash of plain soy milk
shredded cheddar cheese
fresh ground pepper

First, I added hot tap water to the hash browns and set aside. I chopped the onion and then added that to a large skillet with the olive oil and pancetta. I just swirl the oil in the skillet until it looks right, but it isn’t a lot. I added the Brussels sprouts next, then chopped the pepper and garlic, adding them to the pan as I went. If I had thought of it earlier, I probably would have added more garlic, because we all love it, but I thought of it at the last minute today, so I only added one large clove. When everything looked a bit softened, I made sure that the hash browns were drained of excess water and added those to the skillet as well. I spread it out to let the bottom start to get crispy, and started prepping the eggs–cracked, beaten, mixed with the milk and pepper, then adding some cheese. We are all really not good with dairy, but the cheese I found says it is lactose free, and I find it we don’t add too much, it doesn’t seem to bother us. Once the hash browns are browned on the bottom, I like to turn them over and let the rest get a bit crispy before adding the eggs, but then I pour it all over the top and cook for just a minute or two, mixing the eggs and cheese with the veggies and cooking until just set.

Although I had my Making Things project in mind when I made this this morning, I didn’t take a picture. It’s not really a pretty meal, anyway; pretty is not the point. It is nourishing and healthy and filling, an important attribute with growing children. I had to laugh when we ate–both kids ate around the yellow bell pepper, something they eat raw with no problem, but didn’t seem to notice that there were Brussels sprouts mixed into the potatoes. I am probably shooting myself in the foot posting this here, because my daughter does read this sometimes, I think, but I am risking it. She does care about her health, so maybe she will appreciate the extra nutrients that she didn’t even notice in the dish. That, or she’ll tell me she knew it was weird but didn’t want to say anything, and then view all of my food suspiciously in the future, hard to say with her.

In any case, the kids had a good serving of vegetables this morning, lovingly prepared by me. It was more work than going out for a special brunch, but so much more satisfying.