Saturday, August 16, 2008

Stir -fried coconut noodles

3/4 lb. fettuchine-style rice noodles (or rice stick noodles)
3 Tb. grapeseed oil
1 lb. minced chicken
1 yellow bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and minced
1 eggplant cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 Tb. minced garlic
1 can coconut milk
soy sauce

Soak the noodles in very hot water until you're ready to add to the stir fry. Pour 1 Tb. into the large skillet, turn the heat to high, and heat for a minute. Add the meat and cook, stirring occasionally, until it browns and loses it's raw look, about 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add another 1 Tb. of oil to the skillet, followed by the eggplant and bell pepper. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the pepper and eggplant are browned and tender, about 10 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and stir with the meat. Add the remaining Tb. oil, followed by the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds. Add the cocnut milk. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring and scraping with a wooden spoon, for about a minute. Drain the noodles and add along with the meat and vegetables. Cook until the noodles absorb most of the coconut milk, about 3 minutes. Season with soy sauce and pepper.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Eggplant Lasagna

1 large eggplant, sliced into long thin slices (these will be your 'noodles') peeling is optional 2 jars tomato sauce
1 container (16 oz) ricotta cheese
1 container (16 oz) cottage cheese
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
1 Tb. fresh thyme leaves, chopped
2 eggs
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
2 cups mozzarella cheese
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl mix: ricotta cheese, cottage cheese, garlic, basil, thyme, eggs, parmesan cheese and salt and pepper. In 9x13 glass dish, layer a small spoon of sauce, half of the eggplant slices (enough to cover bottom), half of ricotta mixture, half of the remaining sauce and 1 cup of mozzarella cheese. Repeat layers and cover tightly with foil. If the foil touches the cheese, make sure to spray with cooking spray, so the cheese doesn't stick. Bake, covered for 35 minutes. Uncover foil and bake for another 10 minutes- or until cheese is browned and bubbly.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Chicken Cutlets

SO EASY!- This recipe is from another of my favorite cook books- "the minimalist cooks dinner" by Mark Bittman. All the recipes are easy, fresh and delicious. I love that every recipe has substitues and tips, so that you can make almost any of the recipes without having to go to the store in the middle of cooking to get something you forgot.
3 cups (or 3 handfuls) fresh spinach
4 oz. (1 cup grated) parmigiano reggiano cheese- make sure to get fresh and grate it yourself-very inexpensive at Trader Joe's
2 garlic cloves
1 tsp. pepper
pinch salt
1 1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts- cut into large chunks
3 Tb. olive oil

In large skillet, heat 1 Tb. olive oil over medium heat. Put spinach in oil and toss for about 2 minutes, or until wilted. Remove spinach from heat and set aside. Pulse cheese and garlic in a food processor, until garlic is minced. Add pepper, salt and chicken and pulse the machine on and off until the chicken is chopped, NOT PUREED(the goal is to have pieces that are grape size) pulse 2 r 3 more times. Put olive oil in large skillet (just use the one you used for the spinach- less cleanup!) and turn the heat to medium. Shape the chicken mixture into eight small burger-shaped cakes. cook for about 3 minutes per side, or until nicely browned. Do not overcook. Serve hot with any condiment you like. I like to use creme fraiche (or sour cream) with nutmeg and garlic stirred in. Use about 1/2 Cup creme fraiche 1/2 tsp. nutmeg and 1 garlic clove, pinch of salt and pepper.

NOTE: If you do not have a food processor, you can use the Pampered Chef Food Chopper to or a knife to chop the chicken.

Green bean, cherry and almond salad

1/2 pound green beans, trimmed (frozen green beans from Trader Joe's also work)
3 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
1 tablespoon apricot jam
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 bag butter lettuce salad mix
1/3 cup dried cherries
1/4 cup sliced almonds
In a medium saucepan, bring 2 inches salted water to a boil. Add green beans; cover and cook until crisp-tender, 4 to 6 minutes. Rinse under cold water until cool; drain well. (omit step if using frozen green beans- just defrost them)
Make dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, jam, mustard, and 2 tablespoons oil; season with salt and pepper.
In a large bowl, toss lettuce with all but 1 tablespoon dressing. Divide salad among four plates; green beans, cherries, and almonds on top. Drizzle with remaining dressing; serve immediately.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Soft Tacos

1 lb. ground beef
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 Tb. canola oil
1 Tb. garlic powder
1 Tb. chili powder
2 tsps. ground cumin
salt and pepper to taste
flour tortillas

toppings: cheese, lettuce, sour cream, salsa etc.

Put oil in skillet and turn heat to medium. Add onions and cook until soft, about 8 minutes. Stir in crumbled beef and seasonings. Cook until no longer pink. Fill warmed tortillas. I'm such a minimalist when it comes to taco meat...

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Easy night!

Here's what's for dinner tonight:

Mandarin Orange Chicken

Bejing Style Stir Fry Vegetables

Vegetable Eggrolls

...all from TJ's. So, sit back and relax and enjoy.

Monday, August 11, 2008

BBQ pulled pork sandwiches with horseradish dijon aioli and crispy onions

The secret to great pulled pork is the slow cooker AND not putting the bbq sauce on until almost ready to serve. Slow roasting in the slow cooker yields good, tender pork. If the sauce is cooked with the pork, it will separate.
For pork:
1 boneless pork shoulder roast, about 2 1/2 to 3 pounds 1 cup chopped onion
3 minced garlic cloves
1/2 tsp. liquid smoke (do not get on hands- you'll stink ALL DAY!)
1 Tb. kosher salt
black pepper to taste
Directions: Put all ingredients in slow cooker and heat for 5 hours on HIGH or 8 hours on LOW. When meat is tender, pull apart with two forks and mix in bbq sauce.

For Sauce:
2 cups bbq sauce
1/2 cup orange juice
Directions: Combine in small sauce pan and cook on low for 12 minutes, or until bubbly and slightly thicker.

For Horseradish dijon aioli:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp. dijon mustard
1/2 tsp horseradish
Directions: Stir ingredients together until smooth- you may adjust dijon mustard and horseradish to taste.

On good rolls (try not to use hamburger buns- they're too soft), spread aioli on top bun, spoon bbq pork on bottom bun and top with French's crispy onions.