Curried Chicken w/ Sweet Potatoes & Plantains

This one’s from a reddit post on r/paleo – thanks to u/shelovesbier for this! ūüôā

  • 1.5 lbs cubed chicken breast
  • 1 green plantain, sliced into 1/2″ rounds and¬†quartered
  • 1 large white sweet potato, peeled and cubed
  • 2 medium onions, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 inch ginger, peeled and minced
  • 3 small carrots, peeled and cut into rounds
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper w/ seeds, no stem, minced (optional)
  • 2 cans coconut milk, shaken
  • 1 large can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 c. water
  • 1-2 Tbs sea salt
  • 1 Tbs pepper
  • 3 Tbs coconut oil
  • 1 c. packed baby kale leaves

Suggested spices:

  • curry powder / curry mix /¬†garam masala / other Indian spice mix / whatever makes you happy
  • cilantro (optional)

In a heavy-bottomed skillet, heat coconut oil over medium/low heat.  Once shimmery, add chicken and cook thoroughly, tossing frequently to avoid sticking and burning.  Once cooked, move to separate bowl.

Add onions, bell pepper, jalapeno, garlic, and ginger to skillet.  Cook until softened & onions are transparent around the edges.

Add carrots, sweet potato, and plantain.  Cook gently for 5 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent sticking.

Add water, tomatoes, and coconut milk. ¬†Add minimum amounts of spices (curry powder, curry mix, garam masala, cholla masala, cilantro if you’re in to that kind of masochism, whatever you want). ¬†Stir well, then cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

Add kale, stir to incorporate.  Taste and adjust seasoning, adding more spices as desired.  Simmer for another 30 minutes, or until starchy vegetables are soft.

 

 

Figgy Meat

This original recipe is the result of making a very nice recipe a few weeks ago, something with ground beef seasoned and made into meatballs, and then a sauce that – and this is all I remember for sure – included chopped figs and balsamic vinegar, simmered & reduced. ¬†I don’t remember what else was in the fig-vinegar dressing/glaze, and I decided afterwards that making meatballs was an unnecessary step when cooking for one person, but I did like the flavor combination.

Then this weekend, I impulse-bought some more figs at the store, but when I got home, I couldn’t find/recall the recipe I used.

So I decided to improvise! ¬†It turned out pretty well, in my opinion, so I want to keep some sort of record of what I did… but I was improvising, which meant I didn’t measure anything. ¬†Soooo…. here we are, at this probably-not-very-helpful recipe.

  • some figs (I had about 10 oz)
  • balsamic vinegar
  • brown sugar
  • rosemary
  • ginger
  • mustard
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • handful finely chopped onions

Prepare figs Рcut off the tip, then quarter vertically.  Cut each quarter in half or in thirds, depending on size.

In small saucepan, combine fig chunks and balsamic vinegar.  I emptied out what was left of my bottle, then added a little water until the figs were mostly submerged.  I would estimate 1/3 or 1/2 c. balsamic vinegar and 1/4 c. water.  Bring to a (very) low boil, then reduce heat and let simmer.

Add about Tbs brown sugar, Tbs rosemary, 1 or 2 tsp ginger, 1 or 2 tsp mustard, and any other spices you think would be complimentary. ¬†Stir well, mashing the fig pieces slightly (they should be pretty soft after coming to a boil, but you don’t want to pulverize them, just mush), and leave at low heat.

In preferred pan (I always use a certain skillet when browning a pound of ground beef), begin cooking ground beef.  Stir in a handful of finely chopped onion and salt & pepper to taste.  (Feel free to incorporate other veggies that you need to use up; bell pepper was a nice inclusion, for example.)

By the time the meat is nearly finished cooking, the fig sauce should have reduced somewhat.  Empty fig-vinegar sauce into beef; stir well.

Continue cooking for about 5 minutes, or until sauce is reduced as much as you’d like.

…so you end up with, basically, just flavored ground beef – but it’s fantastically flavored ground beef! ¬†I put a serving of it on salad, or serve with saut√©ed zucchini & carrots, or anything else that’s handy. ¬†¬°Fantastico!

Cranberry Pork Roast

  • 3-lb boneless pork top loin roast (preferably a double loin, tied)
  • 1 Tbs cooking oil
  • salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 16-oz can whole cranberry sauce (or real cranberry sauce, if you have access to it)
  • 1/2 c. cranberry juice
  • 1/4 c. sugar (reduce if your cranberry juice has sugar added)
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 2 Tbs cornstarch
  • 2 Tbs cold water
  • optional starch to serve on/with – rice, rice pilaf, noodles, mashed potatoes, stuffing, etc.

In a 10″ skillet, heat oil, then sear roast, rotating frequently, until browned on all sides. ¬†Place roast in 4- or 5-qt slow cooker; sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.

In medium bowl, stir together cranberry sauce, cranberry juice, sugar, mustard, and cloves.  Pour over roast.  Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 6-7 hours, or on high-heat setting for 3-3.5 hours.

Using tongs, transfer roast to a platter; keep warm.  Skim fat from juices in slow cooker.  Measure 2 c. of juices, and transfer them to a medium saucepan, along with most or all of the cranberries from the sauce.  In small bowl, stir together cornstarch and water; add to saucepan.  Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly; cook and stir 2 minutes more.  Serve sauce with roast (and optional starch).

Mango, Macadamia, Avocado Salad

The source recipe calls for arugula, but I find it has a weird aftertaste, so I always substitute the best lettuce I can find at the farmer’s market or, if I can’t make it to the FM that week, one of the “living lettuce” roots-still-attached lettuces at the regular store.

  • 5 c. lettuce, ripped
  • 1 large mango, cubed
  • 1 avocado, cubed
  • (optional meat to make into a main dish – leftover cold chicken, cubed; leftover ground turkey, crumbled and refrigerated; leftover bacon, if such a thing exists; cold deli meat, ripped into bite-size pieces, etc.)
  • (optional ingredients – it’s a salad, you can get creative! Try pineapple tidbits, apple slices, golden raisins, other things you have on-hand…)
  • 3/4 c. roasted, lightly salted Macadamia nuts (if necessary, rub with paper towels to remove excess salt)
    • If you’re too cheap/lazy for Macadamia nuts, unsalted slivered almonds are the 2nd-best option

Combine all ingredients; toss with vinaigrette (below).

  • 2 rounded tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 rounded tsp orange zest
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 Tbs fresh orange juice
  • 1/4 c. white wine
  • 1/4 to 1/3 c. olive oil (to preference; I can’t deal with a whole 1/3 cup in mine)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients; toss with salad (above).

Source: http://kitchenofzig.wordpress.com/2013/04/11/arugula-mango-macadamia-nut-and-avocado-salad-drizzled-with-an-orange-and-cumin-vinaigrette/

Extra-Loaded Sweet Potato

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes (yes, boring white potatoes can be used, but they won’t be as tasty or nutritious or yummy or colorful)
  • 1 T ¬†chopped shallots
  • 1 T minced garlic
  • 1 T Ghee or clarified butter
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 2 T chopped green onion
  • 1 c. plain greek yogurt
  • 4 slices bacon
  • cheese, cayenne, salad greens (optional)

Preheat oven to 425 F. ¬†Cut the potato like you’re cutting it into rounds, but only cut about 2/3 of the way down, so the potato stays technically in one piece. ¬†Cut 1/8″ thick partially-attached “slices” all the way down the potato.

Heat ghee in pan, then add garlic and shallots. ¬†Do not cook, but thoroughly melt ghee and coat garlic and shallots. ¬†Brush potatoes with the ghee mixture, getting some of the shallot/garlic bits left in between the “slices.” ¬†Coat outsides thoroughly with ghee, then bake for 50 minutes.

Cook bacon in pan until 75% done, then remove from heat. ¬†Cut into 1″ squares; set aside.

If desired, season greek yogurt by adding spices (such as rosemary), or blending it with goat cheese and capers, or stirring in random things from the back of your fridge.

After potatoes have baked for 50 minutes, add bacon squares between the “slices” and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until fork tender.

Garnish with greek yogurt, lemon zest, any desired cheese, and a sprinkle of cayenne.  Serve on a bed of salad greens, such as collard or kale.

Source: I dumbed-down this recipe: http://kitchenofzig.wordpress.com/2013/05/01/loaded-hasselback-sweet-potato/

Unauthentic Shepherd’s Pie

  • 1 Tbs vegetable oil
  • 1.5 lbs ground meat (lamb is better, but lean beef is acceptable)
  • 1 finely chopped onion
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 1/4 c. flour
  • 1 Tbs tomato paste
  • 2 c. chicken broth
  • 1/5 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary (ground up a bit so it’s not big spiky leaf chunks)
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 regular potatoes
  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 c. frozen peas and carrots (or more if desired)

Adjust oven rack 6 inches from broiler element and heat broiler.

Begin cooking potatoes.  Pretty much anything works; microwave them like baked potatoes, boil them, whatever you prefer.

Cook ground meat in vegetable oil.  Add onion, breaking up meat with wooden spoon, until meat is no longer pink.

Stir in garlic until thoroughly combined (I love garlic, but not when I get ALL the garlic in one bite).

Stir in flour.  If meat seems excessively greasy, soak up some of it with a paper towel first, but remember that the flour will thicken it.

Stir in tomato paste until thoroughly combined.

Gradually whisk in broth, thyme, rosemary, and Worcestershire, scraping up any browned bits and smoothing out any remaining garlic, tomato, or flour lumps.  Simmer until thickened, about 3-5 minutes.

Stir in peas and carrots.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Add more vegetables if desired.

Pour meat mixture into rectangular casserole dish. ¬†So long as it all fits, the size of the dish isn’t actually terribly important. ¬†If you have an oven-safe skillet to cook in, you can do the whole recipe in that one dish, but I don’t, so…there.

Scrape delicious mushy insides out of potatoes into mixing bowl, and combine thoroughly. ¬†Measure out 4 cups of mixed sweet and regular potatoes. ¬†(Remaining potatoes are now a side dish for some other main; if there’s not much left because you had small potatoes, just use it all on this recipe. ¬†This is not an exact science.)

Using a regular spoon, dollop the potatoes onto the top of the meat mixture. Spread them around as evenly as you can; you are aiming to cover the entire surface with mashed potatoes, sealing the potatoes to the edges. ¬†However, I’ve made this recipe multiple times and I’ve never actually successfully done that and made it look pretty. ¬†There’s got to be a magical trick to it, but I usually murmur “This is not an exact science” over and over until I give up and throw it in the oven. ¬†It’s still tasty, but if you’re serving other people, you might want to put more effort into this step.

Place dish in oven and broil until top is golden brown, about 5-7 minutes. ¬†LET COOL and serve (oh god I only made that mistake once; I was just so hungry and it smelled so good I got carried away by my own enthusiasm, but in the end that just meant I couldn’t really taste how good it was until the next day when my tongue wasn’t burnt-numb anymore).

The Best Cheese Tortellini Recipe

…to clarify, this is the best recipe I know of to jazz up the bags of dry cheese tortellini, not the best recipe to make your own cheese tortellini from scratch. ¬†Just in case you were confused.

I used to just boil the tortellini in water, maybe add some peas and garlic butter, and call it a day. ¬†BUT NO LONGER! ¬†This recipe does take more effort than that, but it’s totally worth it. ūüėÄ

  • 2 to 4 oz. chopped prosciutto (the original recipe calls for 2 oz. but who doesn’t like more bacon? Also, if “prosciutto” is too fancy for you, substitute bacon. ¬†Or if you have leftover bacon, this is a good recipe to use the last couple of ounces.)
  • 1 fennel bulb, chopped
  • 1 Tbs unsalted butter
  • 1.5 c. chicken broth
  • 1.5 c. water
  • 12 oz. dried cheese tortellini of choice
  • 1 (5.3 oz.) package Boursin Garlic and Fine Herbs cheese (I thought something this specific would be hard to find, but it really wasn’t, and the texture is super-important – do not substitute anything else for this! ¬†I tried that once…but only once.)
  • 3 cups frozen chopped spinach, or 5 cups fresh baby spinach (I rarely prefer frozen spinach to fresh, but this recipe is the exception. ¬†The fresh leaves were too big and took a while to wilt down, but the frozen spinach took NO prep time to remove stems and whatnot, and it stirred in easily)
  • 2 c. frozen peas
  • 1/2 c. water
  • 1 Tbs lemon juice (although to be honest I always forget to add this at the end and it’s still good)

Cook prosciutto in large pot over medium heat, 5-7 minutes; transfer to paper towel-lined plate.

Cook chopped fennel and Tbs butter in now-empty pot until lightly browned, 6-9 minutes.

Stir in chicken broth, 1.5 c. water, and tortellini.  Increase heat to medium-high and cook at a simmer, stirring often, until tortellini is tender, 6-9 minutes. Reduce heat to low.

Stir in baby spinach, peas, and 1/2 c. water until frozen spinach is no longer frozen in clumps, or until fresh spinach is wilted.

Stir in Boursin cheese until it’s completely melted.

Remove from heat, stir in lemon juice and season with salt and pepper to taste. ¬†Top with crisp prosciutto and serve. ¬†(Honestly, though, I stir the prosciutto in with the peas and spinach because I’d prefer to have it all in one bowl over having nice presentation, because I’m only cooking for myself. ¬†Your call there.)

Previous Older Entries