Adventures in homemade, budget aware cooking.

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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.

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Greek Style Roasted Potatoes

My house is filling with the smell of garlic. It is making my mouth water. We love garlic. If dinner isn’t smothered in about 13 garlic cloves, something is usually wrong! For instance, I made some steak kabobs last week. I marinated the meat in teriyaki sauce, a dash of balsamic vinegar and some pepper. They were juicy and delicious; however, when I asked the husband what he thought, he suggested that something in the marinade’s melody of flavours was missing. “It needs some… garlic” he said. That should be our family slogan.

The Greek-style roasted potatoes currently in my oven (expelling a garlic scent that is tickling my nostrils and making my mouth water) don’t need any more garlic. But the trick with these potatoes isn’t the garlic. It’s the lemon juice. Don’t forget the lemon juice.

Greek-Style Garlic Roasted Potatoes (I am going to leave strict measurement out of this recipe because it really depends on my many mouths you have to feed)

– 5-10 potatoes, cubed (if my mum were cutting them, they would be big chunks, but if you, like my dad and I, like the crunchy parts, cut them smaller.)
– 3-6 cloves of garlic, chopped roughly (big pieces are fine here) – The juice of one lemon
– Olive oil
– Water
– Dash of parsley
– Dash of cayenne pepper (optional) Preheat the oven to 400F. Put the potatoes in a baking pan that is big enough that fit in one layer. Sprinkle the garlic on top. Squeeze on the lemon juice. Pour in enough oil to coat the potatoes and form a generous pool in the bottom of the pan. Pour in water to cover at least ½ of the potatoes. Cook. Stir ones or twice. If they are sticking, add more oil. They are done when they’re brown and crispy (usually around an hour.) Sprinkle with parsley and cayenne pepper.


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…