Monday, August 26, 2013
Friday, August 23, 2013
This little Thai dish has been a family favorite for about a year now. It was inspired by a Jamie Oliver recipe but morphed into a yummy curry that could be completely vegetarian - or not. Allison's very good friend, Ashik, is a total vegetarian and every time he came over for dinner I'd serve him the same chickpea korma over and over again. I knew I could step it up with something different and I remembered a green curry Allison and I had enjoyed at a nearby restaurant that had beans, asparagus, and sweet red peppers. I tried it out and we all loved it. This salad dressing came about due to my upbringing; we always had a salad on the table at dinner time. But how can you serve ranch dressing with Thai food? On a lark I whipped up the salad dressing ingredients below in my mini food processor and a hit was born! Jenn even loves the stuff over veggies! Enjoy - it's yummy!
Thai Green Curry
Ingredients for four servings:
Optional: 2 chicken breasts
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound fresh green beans
1 large bunch of asparagus
1 large sweet red pepper
1 large bunch of cilantro
1 bunch of green onions
1 small jalapeno or serrano pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger or 1 teaspoon dried
1 teaspoon dried lemongrass
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 cup light soy sauce (sub out 1 tablespoon for fish sauce if desired)
1 (15 oz.) can of coconut milk
2 Limes, sliced
Roughly chop the cilantro, green onions, pepper, chili pepper, garlic, ginger and put them in a food processor or blender. Add the lemongrass, coriander, soy, and fish sauce (if using fish sauce). Whirl it into a smooth sauce. Set aside.
If using, rinse and cut the chicken breasts into pieces, Wash and cut the asparagus into pieces, and throw away the woody ends. Wash and snap the ends off the beans. Rinse off the red bell pepper, core and cut it into place. Place all three veggies and chicken in a good sized skillet with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Let them "stir fry" for a 2 or 3 minutes.
Pour in the cilantro mixture and the can of coconut milk. Mix together and simmer until the vegetables are done. Serve with rice and lime slices.
Fabulous Salad Dressing
For about 1 cup of dressing
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup light soy sauce
2 tablespoons diced purple onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon lemon or lime juice
Whirl it in a blender or food processor until smooth. Serve over salad or vegetables.
Thursday, August 22, 2013
My friend Dory is one talented lady! She is the soloist at her church, works with the local elementary school choir on a total volunteer basis, often lends a helping hand to those in need, and super organizes a household of three busy kids and a husband. However - Cooking is not something she enjoys and usually consists of opening a jar of pasta sauce. When I told her about Cooking Planit she was intrigued because she is into anything that makes the chaotic dinner hour easier, but she got a big laugh out of the idea of me taking pictures while she cooked a meal. First, she signed up for the free Cooking Planit app at https://www.cookingplanit.com . Then she started browsing around. She was impressed by the yummy looking pictures and how she could Search for a meal or recipe that fits the preferences of her family; for example, no beans.
She loved the fact that she was not overwhelmed by an unwieldy amount of choices and could easily center in and pick one she thought her family would enjoy. She settled on the meal "Freshen Up" because her kids like chicken and the drumsticks looked fun.
The fact that Cooking Planit generates a grocery list with the ingredients needed made a big impact on Dory. She could have printed it out, but instead grabbed her phone and synched the app on it so she would have it at the grocery.
One great thing about the grocery list is that you can delete items from it that you already have on hand. She went over to her pantry and clicked off what she already had.
Dory's daughter Bridget went with her to the store. When it came time to pick out the herb for the potato salad a little bit of negotiating went on. Bridget and the rest of the family love basil, so Dory opted for it instead of the tarragon. She knew she needed the same amount and appreciated the flexibility Cooking Planit recipes give to accommodate family tastes.
Once home, Dory wanted to time the meal to be ready at 6pm because she had to be at church at 7. Cooking Planit told her she needed 1 hour and 8 minutes, so she started in just before 5:00.
Dory is all about organization and she loved that the ingredients, equipment, and steps were all listed before she even began.
Before clicking on "Start Cooking", Dory had the option of previewing the steps or skipping the prep. The "Helpful Hints" section suggested that the drumsticks could be grilled as well as being baked so Dory opted to get her husband, Gabe, involved in doing that.
Notice the little timeline under the title "Freshen Up"? Well it adjusts to the speed of your clicks and even if you have to stop for a minute (Dory had to track down her son Isaac and remind him he had soccer practice at 8), all the dishes in your meal will still come out at the same time. Impressive! During the process, if there is downtime a little message will suggest that now would be a good time to clean up a bit or sip on a beverage!
Gabe was out grilling by the time the red skin potatoes were cooling and Dory was clicking along and whisking up the dressing. Check out the great looking T-Fal pan!
Dory completed the last few steps and all three dishes were ready at the same time!
The family loved the food! Gabe said, "This is light but tastes gourmet!" and Dory agreed that everything was delicious. The meal she made is saved on her Cooking Planit home page, but Dory is excited to try other Cooking Planit meals to make dinner time have more variety and be less stressful.
Friday, August 16, 2013
Spinach Melt Grilled Sandwich
The inspiration for this sandwich came from an intense craving for the Spinach Melt Sandwich at Smee's Place in Indianapolis. Smee's spinach melt is not too rich which allows you to enjoy it without feeling guilty and they offer to add sliced turkey to the sandwich as well. I hope you enjoy my copy cat version!
Ingredients for Four Servings
For the Creamed Spinach Filling:
2 (10 oz.) packages frozen spinach
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoon diced shallots
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup whole milk
1/3 cup parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon flour
1/16 teaspoon ground nutmeg
For the Spinach Melt Grilled Sandwiches:
Creamed spinach from above
8 slices of bread, buttered on one side
1/2 shredded mozzarella cheese
Slices of chicken or turkey breast
Defrost the spinach in the microwave. Use a colander and towels to squeeze as much water as possible out.
Heat the olive oil in a sauce pan and sauté the shallots until tender but not brown. Add the garlic and sauté one more minute.