Adventures in homemade, budget aware cooking.

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Enchiladas Verdes

 

These aren’t your typical “Enchiladas.”  Or at least they aren’t what I normally think of when I think Enchilada… Instead, they are more like tacos… Anyways, this one authentic recipe.  I hope you’ll like it!

  • 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 small white onion

Bring a pot of water to boil.  Add the chicken, garlic and onion and poach in boiling water until chicken is cooked through.  Drain the water (or reserve as a chicken stock) and shred and salt the chicken.  Set aside.

  • 1 lb tomatillos (green tomatoes), casings removed, rinsed
  • 1 to 3 jalapenos
  • 1/4 cup cilantro
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 a small onion, chopped

In a medium saucepan, bring water to a boil.  Add the tomatillos and the jalapenos.  Cook until tomatoes are soft.  Place all the ingredients in a blender with 1/2 cup of the cooking water.  Pulse until blended.  Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a large skillet.  Pour in the salsa and heat 5 minutes.

When you are ready to serve, heat corn tortillas in oil in a small skillet, then with tongs, dunk them into the salsa.  Fill with chicken and roll up.  Repeat.  Serve with shredded lettuce, Mexican cheese, sour cream, cilantro, and additional salsa verde.

I forget to get a picture of the finished product… sorry.

 

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Meal Planning

So, I promised that I would keep doing this and then I stopped doing it!  Oops.. Well, last week, this is what I planned (if you’re lucky I’ll blog about these meals… maybe…)

  • Chicken Artichoke Risotto
  • Pork Fried Rice
  • Provencal Chicken and Herb Penne
  • Chinese Noodle Soup
  • Blackberry Ice Cream

And then for this week:

  • Chicken Murphy
  • Tex-Mex Turkey Burgers
  • Italian Rosemary Chicken
  • Asian Beef and Veggies
  • Grilled Chicken and Vegetable Soup
  • Broccoli Ginger Beef

Homemade Ice Cream!

Frozen Caramel Custard

Have you ever tried to make ice cream in your freezer without an ice cream maker and ended up with a clump of ice crystals? Well, this recipe is not for that!

When I was five, I asked Santa Claus for an ice cream maker. He couldn’t find one, so I got a Teddy Bear instead. The next year, he succeeded and I got my ice cream maker. Needless to say, the Teddy Bear got lots more love and use that the ice cream maker. Now, I’ve learned that I don’t need one. Neither do you.

Frozen Caramel Custard (adapted from “Simple Secrets to Better Everyday Cooking”)

  • 1/3 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 5 beaten egg yolks
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup nonfat dry milk powder (available in bulk food sections)
  • dash salt
  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • caramel shards for a garnish

Caramel:

In a small heavy saucepan, cook the granulated sugar over med-high heat until the sugar begins to melt, shaking the pot occasionally.  DO NOT STIR.  Reduce the heat to low and cook until sugar is melted and golden brown.  At this point you can and should stir it with a wooden spoon.  Remove the saucepan from the heat.

Carefully stir in the 1/2 cup whipping cream.  If a large lump of sugar forms (it did for me) heat the mixture over medium heat, stirring frequently until the lump dissolves.  This can take 15 min.

Ice Cream

In a medium saucepan, combine egg yolks, milk, dry milk powder, and salt.  Cook over low-med heat, stirring constantly until the mixture coats the back of a metal spoon, or until the it is just beginning to look like a custard.  Remove from the heat.  Stir in the 2 cups of whipping cream.  Add the caramel and brown sugar and vanilla.  Stir until the sugar dissolves.  Cool custard in the refrigerator until completely cool.

Place it in an ice cream machine, or in a large metal bowl.  Cover securely.  Place in the freezer.  Every 40 min, take the bowl out of the freezer, using a spatula or spoon, scrape the frozen edges, and beat with an electric mixer for 30 seconds.  Repeat this every 40 min for 5 to 6 hours or until the ice cream is firm.  Garnish with caramel shards.

Caramel shards

Cook 3/4 cup of sugar in the same way you did for the caramel above.  When it is melted, remove from heat and add in 1 tsp of water.  Immediately pour the sugar on a lined and greased baking sheet.  Spread it as thin as possible.  Let it set up for 30 min.  With the back of a metal spoon, break it into shards.


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.


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.


Bruschetta

I have written this post three times now, but every time, my computer dies or fails in one way or another.  So, I’ve given up on the stories and anecdotes.  This is good.  Make it and eat it.

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp fresh basil, minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh chives, minced
  • 2 gloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and spoon over toasted slices of baguette.


Thai Peanut Chicken

The first time I had curry, I was in the H-shaped airport in Taipei, Taiwan. The experience taught me one thing: Airport food is universally bad. Since then, I have avoided curry religiously. I was convinced I didn’t like it. You can imagine my trepidation as I ventured today’s recipe: Thai Peanut Chicken with a large helping of yellow curry powder. It turns out that I don’t hate curry after all. Here’s the recipe that changed my mind:

Thai Peanut Chicken (adapted from Mark Bittman’s “The Greatest Recipes in the World”)

– 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
– 1 tbsp curry powder
– 2 garlic cloves, minced
– 1 inch piece of ginger, minced
– 1 small onion, sliced
– 1 tbsp cooking oil
– 1/2 head of broccoli, cut
– 1 scallion, cut into 1 inch pieces
– 1/3 roasted peanuts, chopped
– 1 tbsp sugar
– 1 tbsp Nam Pla (Thai Fish Sauce)
– 3/4 cup coconut milk*

Cut the chicken into 1 inch cubes. Marinate it with the curry, ginger and garlic. Bring a pot of water to boil. Add the broccoli and scallion and cook for 3 minutes. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add the oil. Cook the onion until it’s tender, 3-4 minutes. Strain the vegetables and run them under cold water for 30 seconds. Add the chicken to the skillet. Add the vegetables to the skillet. Cook on medium-high until the chicken is just browning, 5-10 minutes. Add the peanuts, coconut milk, Nam Pla, and sugar. Heat 5 minutes until the sauce is thickened. Season with salt. Serve over jasmine rice.

* To make your own coconut milk:
In a blender, combine 1 cup shredded coconut with 2 cups hot water. Pulse 3-4 times. Blend for 15 seconds. Strain the milk and discard the chucks. (makes 2 cups)


Meal Planning #3

I know that I haven’t blogged about most of the things I cooked since last time I planned, but I’m pretty sure it’s a million times harder to think of things to make than to find viable recipes and make them, so here is next week’s menu:
Saturday: Taco Salad and Lime Sherbet for dessert
Sunday: Thai Peanut Chicken
Monday: Sopes (if you, like my spellchecker, do not recognize Sopes, you are in for a TREAT!)
Tuesday: Homemade Mac & Cheese, Grilled Steak Kabobs and Steamed Broccoli
Wednesday: Perogies (which I will buy at the store pre-made like normal people)
Thursday: Greek Feast! aka: Grilled Chicken Kabobs, Homemade Pita Bread, Pilaf and Greek Salad
Friday: Italian Wedding Soup


Potstickers

Yesterday, my husband and I had a friend over for Mexican food.  We got to talking about food.  What else do you talk about when you’re eating after all?  My husband attempted to explain about all the ethnic foods I am introducing him to, but he got stuck on “Tzatziki.”  I don’t really blame him.  Finally, he abandoned searching for the word and instead brought up the potstickers we enjoyed a few days prior.  But our friend was baffled at our considering potstickers ethnic, because to him, they are a “Utah thing!”  Potstickers, as it turns out, are a Chinese thing.  I am happy they are accessible here though!

Most people eat these at Chinese food restaurants (My mum, for one, loves them).  If people do attempt to make them at home, they generally use the store-bought wrappers.  I made mine from scratch, using a recipe from “Dim Sum: The Art of Chinese Tea Lunch” and they are so easy (and CHEAP) that I will never buy them again.

Potsticker Wrappers:

  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup water

Combine flour and water in a medium bowl.  Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface.  Knead the dough for 3-4 minutes until it appears smooth.  Form the dough into a 9 inch cylinder with your palms.  Cut the dough in half lengthwise.  Dust both pieces with flour and cover loosely with plastic wrap.  Let them rest at room temperature for 20 minutes.  Meanwhile make the filling.

There are a million fillings that you can use for potstickers.  I used the traditional ginger pork filling adapted from “Dim Sum: The Art of Chinese Tea Lunch”

  • 8 oz finely shredded napa cabbage (or regular cabbage)
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 8 oz ground pork
  • 2 tbsp minced ginger
  • 1 scallion (green onion) finely sliced
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp rice wine (apple juice)
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil (you NEED this to make it taste Chinese!)

Toss the cabbage with the salt in a large bowl and let it stand 30 minutes to remove excess water.  Rinse the cabbage, and squeeze out all the water you can.  Preheat the oven to 200F (this is so you can keep batches of cooked potstickers warm while you cook the rest).  Mix the pork, ginger, scallion, soy sauce, apple juice, sugar and sesame oil in a large bowl.  Mix in the cabbage.  Refrigerate anywhere from 20 minutes to 2 hours.

To assemble the dumplings, roll the cylinders out to 12 inches each (one at a time).  Cut out 3-3 1/4 inch circles.  Put a tsp of filling in the center of the dough.  Bring the top and bottom of the dough to the center of the filling and pinch shut forming a lip.  On one side of the dumpling, pinch 4 1/4 inch pleats in the dough along the lip.  When you have 10 or so ready, heat 1 tsp of oil in a skillet over medium heat.  When the oil is almost smoking, drop in the dumpling.  Fry for 2 minutes (only on one side).  Add 1/2 cup of water to the skillet.  Cover and let the dumplings cook for 5 minutes.  When the water is just about gone, remove the lid and let the potstickers cook until they are light brown and stuck.  Repeat until all the dumplings are cooked.  Serve hot with Soy Vinegar Dip.

Soy Vinegar Dip

  • 1/8 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp sugar

Heat ingredients with 1 tbsp water over low heat for 1 1/2 minutes.  Remove from heat and spoon into small dishes.  Top with a scallion sliced paper-thin if desired.

ps. The Spring Rolls were mediocre so I will not give you the recipe here.  Do you have a delicious spring roll recipe?


Meal Planning #2

So… Here it is… our menu for next week!

Friday – Broccoli Pesto

Saturday – Grilled Chicken in Chipotle Sauce and Mexican Rice

Sunday – Corn and Potato Chowder

Monday – Potstickers and Spring Rolls

Tuesday – Enchiladas Verdes

Wednesday – Turkey Tortilla Wraps (because we bought turkey instead of chicken last week but never made them!)

Thursday – Well, I haven’t quite sorted Thursday out yet…