Adventures in homemade, budget aware cooking.

Grains

Chicken Murphy

I know it’s been too long since my last blog.  Because it’s been a few weeks, now I feel bogged down with a million recipes to write about and an internet connection that is temperamental at best.  You have my sincere apologies and a pledge to get back on track.  Here’s what we had for dinner tonight:

You’ll notice that there is a side of asparagus on my plate.  Asparagus is one of those foods that my young, uncultivated tongue didn’t appreciate.  I used to call them “aspara-guts.”  Saute them in butter and garlic and they don’t taste anything like guts… well, at least I don’t think they do.

Chicken Murphy (adapted from “Family Circle”)

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 28oz can of whole tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 2 inch cubes
  • 1 large red bell pepper, cut into 1/4 inch slices
  • 4 hot red peppers, seeded and cut into quarters
  • 1/2 a sweet onion, sliced
  • 1 cup of uncooked orzo (cook this like you cook rice with a 2 to 1 ration of water to orzo)

Heat oil in a large skillet over med-high heat.  Add the garlic and cook until lightly browned.  Stir in the tomatoes and liquid, salt and pepper.  Break up the tomatoes using the back of a wooden spoon.  Cook over med-high heat for 3 minutes.  Add the chicken, peppers and onion.  Cover and cook for 5 minutes.  Stir and cook for another 5 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.  Serve on a bed of cooked orzo.


Lemon Chicken Orzo

I like strange grains.  I don’t know what it is about me, but I hate spaghetti and white rice.  I love jasmine rice and couscous and orzo.  Maybe I just have expensive tastes…  This past month, I feel like my husband’s comment on most of the meals I prepare for him has been “Well, it’s a new flavour for me…”  Is that his nice way of saying that he doesn’t like it, or that I should make it more often so he gets used to it?  I prefer to believe it’s the latter.

Lemon Chicken Orzo (adapted from “Family Circle)

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into cubes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper
  • 1 14.5 oz can of chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 2 1/2 tbsp sour cream or plain yogurt
  • 1 cup orzo
  • 8 oz green beans, cut into 1 inch pieces

Sprinkle the chicken with 1/4 tsp of the salt and pepper.  In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat.  Add the chicken and brown it.  Add the chicken broth and the lemon juice.  Bring to a boil and cover.  Lower heat.  Let mixture simmer until the chicken is cooked through (5 min).  Remove the chicken with a slotted spoon and set aside.  Increase the heat to high and cook the sauce for 5 min.  Add the honey and sour cream, salt and pepper.  Add 2 cups of water and bring to a boil again.  Add the orzo and cook for 10 min, or until the orzo is soft and most of the liquid has been absorbed.  Add green beans during the final 4 min of cooking time.  Stir in the chicken.  Garnish with parsley.  Serve.


Garlic-Cumin Black Beans

I was under the impression that rice is tricky to cook.  Then I tried to make beans.  My impatient cooking-style did NOT co-exist very well with the lengthy process of cooking dried black beans.  It took me several months, but I finally built up the courage to try again.  This time, I left the beans on low and went to an appointment for a few hours.  I think that helped.  I also started to cook them well before it was dinnertime, and well before I was hungry so I didn’t even feel the need to rush them along so I could eat.  My beans don’t hold a candle next to real ones, cooked by Latin Americans who know what they are doing, but they weren’t bad.

Garlic-Cumin Black Beans (adapted from Mark Bittman’s “The Best Recipes in the World”)

  • 1 lb dried black beans
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • ½ cup minced onion

Soak the beans overnight in water.  Drain them, put them in a pot and cover them with fresh water.  Cook on medium-high heat.  When they boil, add the crushed garlic and the cumin.  Partially cover and simmer until they are tender, 2-3 hours (or maybe 5 if your beans are like mine…)  Add the salt, pepper, minced garlic and more cumin if you like.  Cook another 5 minutes.  Stir in the onion.  Serve warm.

These are great with any Mexican dish.  You can also follow this basic recipe with pinto beans as well.

Oh, and anyone have a good recipe for Baked Alaska?  The prospect of baked ice cream intrigues me…