Posts tagged: main dish

Coconut Chicken Curry

By , June 29, 2012 at 11:26 pm

I came across this recipe the other night.  It was so easy and delicious.  I love how you just throw everything in the food processor and it makes a wonderful curry.  The original recipe calls for green pepper, but I loved it with the red one I had in the fridge.  It can also be adapted for the slow cooker, although I’m not sure how bone-in chicken would work, and I’m afraid chicken breast would get way over-cooked and stiff.  Here’s what worked for me.

Coconut Chicken Curry


6-8 chicken thighs
1 medium onion, peeled and halved
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 can (14.5 oz) tomato paste
1 can (14.5 oz) coconut milk
1.5 tsp salt
1 Tbsp Garam Masala
1 Tbsp Curry powder
1 small red pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 to 2 dry whole red chili pepper (optional, for those who like their curry on the burning side)

For thickening: 1.5 Tbsp cornstarch dissolved in 2 Tbsp water


1.  Cook bone-in chicken in skillet until almost cooked through.  Drain grease.

2. While chicken is cooking place all the ingredients (except the chili peppers, cornstarch and water) in a food processor bowl and process together until the mix is smooth(ish). Pour sauce mix on top of the chicken, mix well, add hot peppers if using any.  Cook covered until chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes or longer.  When the chicken is falling off the  bone you know it is ready.

3.  If it needs thickening mix water and cornstarch until cornstarch is completely dissolved, add to curry and mix well.  (I didn’t use this- it seemed to thicken up enough by leaving the lid off for a bit to let the extra liquid evaporate).

4. Serve on top of steaming white rice, something wonderfully aromatic like Jasmin or Basmati rice. Decorate with lots of chopped coriander. Inhale. So good!

For a variation on this recipe, used chopped chicken  breast and cook in crock pot on low for 6 hours.  An hour before serving add in cornstarch mix.  Then replace lid and continue cooking.


Adapted from

Falafel Burgers

By , June 29, 2012 at 10:30 pm

Serves 4

Falafel Burgers

14.5 oz can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1 small red onion

2 garlic cloves, chopped

handful of flat-leaf parsley or curly parsley

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

1/2 tsp harissa paste or chilli powder

2 Tbsp plain flour

2 Tbsp oil

Toppings: lettuce, tomato, cucumber, red onion.

Yogurt sauce:  Add some dill to plain yogurt and stir (mix in chopped cucumber and tomato for color)

1. Pat the chickpeas dry with paper towel.  Mix in food processor along with the onion, garlic, parsley, spices, flour and a little salt.  Blend until fairly smooth, then shape into patties with your hands.

2. Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan, add the burgers, then quickly fry for 3 minutes on each side until lightly golden.  Serve wrapped in lettuce, toppings, and yogurt sauce.  You can also serve on toasted pitas, with tomato salsa and salad.

Adapted from

Firecracker Shrimp Bowties

By , November 3, 2011 at 7:22 am

Firecracker Shrimp Bowties

1 lb frozen raw shrimp
1 pkg snap peas (or snow peas)
1-2 tomatoes, deseeded and chopped.
4 tbsp jarred pesto
A good drizzle of olive oil
1 lb bowtie pasta (also called farfalle)
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4-1/2 tsp dried red chili flakes
Salt and pepper

Get your shrimp running under cold water in a colander for 5 minutes to defrost them. Also put on a big pot of water and salt it for your pasta.

While you are waiting for your shrimp to defrost and water to boil, you can start de-stringing your pea pods. This is the only tedious part. Grab the tip of one end and pull the string until it comes out the other end. Do this to all your pea pods and then cut them in half. To deseed your tomato, you cut it in half (with the tomato sitting face up on your cutting board), and then stick your fingers inside and pull out all the juicy seedy parts. Leave all the tomato flesh inside. This will make your sauce taste much better.

Put your pasta in the boiling water. De-shell the shrimp once they are defrosted as well as remove the tail. Put a frying pan on medium-high heat with a tablespoon or so of olive oil. Once the pan is nice and hot, throw in your shrimp and season with salt, pepper, chili flakes and garlic powder. They should really only take 1 to 2 minutes to cook. You just want them to have barely turned pink. Remove them from the pan onto a plate and add your pea pods to the frying pan. Sauté for 2 to 3 minutes and then add the tomatoes and sauté for another 1 or 2 minutes. You can then turn off the heat, add the pesto and a good healthy dose of olive oil. It’s an olive oil based sauce so be pretty liberal with it. You can also add your shrimp back to the sauce.

Once the pasta has cooked to al dente, drain and add the veggie/shrimp/olive oil sauce. Dish up and serve with French bread slices and sprinkle with a bit of parmesan.


Basil Chicken in Coconut-Curry Sauce

By , January 2, 2011 at 11:23 pm

Found this recipe on the other day and thought it ended up pretty tasty.  Try substituting the chicken with tofu to make a vegetarian dish.

Basil Chicken in Coconut-Curry Sauce


4 Chicken breast halves;
1/2 tsGround cardamom
1/2 tsGround cinnamon
1/2 tsGround cloves
1/2 tsGround coriander
1/2 tsGround cumin
Cracked black pepper
1/4 tsGround turmeric
1/4 tsChili powder
1 lgRed onion; chopped
5 Garlic; minced
2 Jalapeno pepper; seeded
1 tbolive oil
14 ozUnsweetened coconut milk
2 tsCornstarch
3 tbFresh basil; snipped
1 tbGingerroot; finely chopped
Hot cooked rice
Fresh basil


Rinse chicken; pat dry; cut in 1″ pieces. Place in a medium bowl. In a small bowl stir together spices (cardamom to chili powder). Sprinkle over chicken; toss to coat. Cover and let stand at room temperature 30 minutes or I the refrigerator 1-2 hours. In a large nonstick wok or skillet cook and stir onion, garlic and jalapeno peppers in hot oil over medium-heat 2 minutes. Remove onion mixture. Add half the chicken to the wok. Cook and stir 2-3 minutes or until chicken is tender and no pink remains. Remove chicken from wok; cook and remove remaining chicken. Stir together coconut milk and cornstarch. Carefully add to wok. Cook and stir until bubbly and thickened. Return chicken and onion mixture to wok. Stir in snipped basil and gingerroot. Cook 2 minutes until heated through. Serve over rice. Garnish with fresh basil.


Recipe by: Better Homes and Gardens, January 1998, Page 122.

Niu Rou Mian (Spicy Beef Noodle Soup)

By , January 2, 2011 at 7:28 pm

If you want to try an authentic Chinese recipe this is so delicious and perfect for the freezing weather we’ve been having lately.  I have to be honest and say that Dan is the one who found this recipe and he is the one who always cooks this dish, but it has become one of my new favorites.  Brings me back to my days in Taiwan when I used to order soup off the street from little vendors on my bike ride home for dinner.  Yum!

Niu Rou Mian (Spicy Beef Noodle Soup)

2-3 lbs of beef shank
Water to cover
Green onion and ginger

2 tablespoons of canola oil
2 teaspoons of sugar
6 tablespoons of Szechuan peppercorn
2-3 tablespoons of minced (or grated) ginger
1 head of garlic, cloves peeled and minced
2-3 star anise
2 tablespoons of spicy chili bean paste
1 tablespoon cayenne or Indian red chili powder (optional)

1 lb tendon (optional)
½ lb of Chinese greens (I used Shanghai bok choy hearts)
Noodles (homemade or fresh store bought)
Green onions
Slivered zha cai (Szechuan pickled vegetable) (optional)

1. Place the whole beef shank in a large pot or Dutch oven with enough water to cover. Add about 4-5 stalks of green onion (well-rinsed) and 4-5 slices of ginger. Do not salt! This will ruin the flavor of the broth; you will be adding soy/salt at the very end. Cover and bring to a boil, then turn down to a strong simmer for about half an hour. Remove and discard green onion and ginger. Then take the shank out and carve it into largish chunks, placing these (along with any juices) back into the pot. You will want a very good serrated knife for this task, as the shank is very tough to cut.

2. Heat the oil for the seasoning paste in a medium-sized frying pan. Add the sugar and stir until completely dissolved and just starting to caramelize (you will see a golden brown color appear in the bottom of the pan). Then add the rest of the seasoning paste ingredients and stir vigorously for about 90 seconds. This will smell fantastic, and you will want to eat a bowl of beef noodles right on the spot. Not so fast, my friend, you’ve still got three or four hours left to go. Throw this delicious mixture into the broth pot.

3. If using tendon in your soup, simply boil it whole in a separate pot over medium-low heat until tender (about 2½ hours). Make sure to keep topping up the water level if necessary. Chop into bite sized pieces and add it to the main soup pot. Note that tendon will dissolve if you cook it for too long, so you may want to keep this aside if your soup isn’t close to ready yet.

4. Every recipe I read claims that after two hours of simmering over very low heat, the beef will practically be falling apart. This was not the case for me. Mine took about four hours, at which point it became so lusciously tender that it practically dissolved upon contact. It was well worth the wait.

5. About 15 minutes before serving, add soy/salt to taste. I added about 2 tablespoons of low sodium soy sauce and a quarter teaspoon of salt. Remove the peppercorns and star anise with a Chinese spider or skimmer. If you miss a few peppercorns, don’t worry. They’re edible, just a little bitter.

6. Prepare your noodles according to the package instructions. Shanghai noodles are available at most Asian markets, and work the best here. Or you can make your own, a surprisingly simple task that I document here. You have about six hours to kill anyway. Blanch veggies in the same pot of water. In your soup bowl, place a ball of noodles, followed by veggies. Pour about two cups of beef broth over, then add a few pieces each of beef and tendon. Scatter the top with slivered zha cai and green onions and serve.

Recipe stolen from

Portobello Mushroom Pasta

By , January 2, 2011 at 1:28 am

I came across this recipe for Dan after he requested something with mushrooms (he really loves those things).  This has turned out to be a favorite dish with a little spicy kick.

Portobello Mushroom Pasta

6 ounces of portobello mushrooms medium dice (other mushrooms work too)
1 onion medium diced
4 cloves of garlic finely diced
1/2 cup of white wine (or apple juice)
1 cup of chicken stock
Pinch of crushed red pepper
3 stalks of thyme
1 stalk of oregano
8 TB of butter
Kosher salt and black pepper
Your favorite pasta cooked with about 1/2 cup of the reserved cooking water

In a large skillet over medium add in 4 TB of the butter and once melted add in the mushrooms and onions.  Cook slowly till the mushrooms are softened (about 8-10 minutes).

Add in the garlic and cook for another minute.  Increase the heat till medium-high and add in the white wine and reduce by 1/2.  Once the wine has reduced add in the chicken stock, crushed red pepper, thyme, oregano and reduce to about 1/2 cup.

Add in the remaining 4 TB of the butter.  Add in the pasta and if needed the remaining 1/2 cup of reserved pasta water.

Serve and enjoy with some grated parmesan cheese and diced parsley.

Lamb Chops with Balsamic Reduction

By , January 2, 2011 at 12:39 am

This is a new favorite of Dan’s, but for me it has a bit too many spices.  It was the first time I’ve ever made lamb.  Not bad.  If you’re adventurous and want to cook up a fancy meal give it a try.

Lamb Chops with Balsamic Reduction

1/4 cup fresh rosemary
1/4 cup fresh mint
1/4 cup fresh thyme
iodized sea salt & ground black pepper to taste
4 lamb chops (3/4 inch thick)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup minced shallots (I just used onions)
1/3 cup aged balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons butter


1. In a small bowl or cup, mix together the rosemary, mint, thyme, sea salt and pepper. Rub this mixture onto the lamb chops on both sides. Place them on a plate, cover and set aside for 15 minutes to absorb the flavors.
2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Place lambs chops in the skillet, and cook for about 3 1/2 minutes per side for medium rare, or continue to cook to your desired doneness. Remove from the skillet, and keep warm on a serving platter.
3. Add shallots to the skillet, and cook for a few minutes, just until browned. Stir in vinegar, scraping any bits of lamb from the bottom of the skillet, then stir in the chicken broth. Continue to cook and stir over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, until the sauce has reduced by half. Note: If sauce is removed from heat too soon, it will be thin. Remove from heat, and stir in butter. Pour over the lamb chops and serve.

Good Old Fashioned Pancakes

By , January 1, 2011 at 9:36 pm

I have had a hard time finding a pancake recipe that I like.  After trying this one, it is a winner.  I found the secret is in nuking the milk in the microwave until it is warm, or at room temperature.  Apparently warm milk mixed in butter keeps the butter from congealing (as it does when you mix butter with cold milk).  Pretty cool.

Good Old Fashioned Pancakes

Recipe Yields 8 servings


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups warm milk (or room temperature)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted


  1. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Make a well in the center and pour in the milk, egg, vanilla and melted butter; mix until smooth.
  2. Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot.

Adapted from:

Eggplant Marinara Bruschetta

By , January 1, 2011 at 9:15 pm

If you like eggplant or have always wanted to try it, this is a very simple recipe and pretty filling believe it or not.

Eggplant Marinara Bruschetta

Active time: 30 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large eggplant (cut into 1/3- to 1/2-inch-thick rounds)
  • 1 loaf Italian bread (cut into 1/3 to 1/2-inch thick rounds)
  • 1/2 jar of marinara sauce (about 1 1/4 cups)
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil plus 6 whole leaves (for garnish)- optional
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese (about 4 ounces)

Preheat oven to 400°F. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle eggplant with salt and pepper. Place in skillet. Cover. Cook until tender, turning, 5 minutes on each side. Transfer to plate. Brush one side of each slice of bread with oil. Cook in skillet, cut side down, until golden, 1 minute.  (I find that toasting the bread really isn’t necessary, but I suppose it is suppose to prevent the sauce from soaking into the bread.  This set is optional for me, depending on how much time I have).

Place bread, toasted side up, on baking sheet. Spread spoonful of sauce on each slice.  Sprinkle with chopped basil. Top with eggplant. Mound mozzarella cheese on eggplant; spoon remaining sauce over cheese.

Bake bread until topping is hot and crust is crisp, about 12 minutes. Garnish with basil leaves.

Adapted from: Bon Appétit | October 2010

Applebee’s Oriental Chicken Salad

By , January 28, 2010 at 10:09 pm

I wasn’t sure I would really like this, but found it very satisfying even with all the cabbage.

Oriental Dressing:
6 Tbsp. honey
3 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
1/2 cup fat-free mayonnaise
2 tsp. Grey Poupon Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. sesame oil

2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
3 Tbsp. honey
3 Tbsp. rice vinegar
Grill seasoning

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 cups chopped romaine lettuce
2 cups chopped red cabbage
2 cups chopped Napa cabbage
1/2 cup shredded carrot
1 bunch green onions, chopped
4 Tbsp. sliced almonds, toasted
1 cup crispy chow mein noodles

Blend together dressing ingredients. Put in refrigerator to chill. Cut chicken breasts into long strips. Combine oil, honey, and vinegar and coat chicken strips. Sprinkle liberally with grill seasoning. Refrigerate while chopping the vegetable. Combine lettuce, cabbages, and carrot in a large bowl. Spray a frying pan with Pam and heat to medium high. Saute chicken strips on both sides till browned and cooked through. Set aside. Sprinkle green onions on top of salad, then toasted almonds and chow mein noodles. Top with warm chicken strips. Serve dressing on the side.

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