16 August 2017

Back in the Saddle Again...Again

Do you ever want takeout because you just don't know what to cook? I mean, there are ingredients, but nothing jumps out at you? I've felt that a lot lately and just throw random stuff together to mediocre results. Last night, my husband came home after his first day of clean eating. Bracing for the sinking feeling that lack of inspiration brings, I opened the refrigerator and started pulling things out. Bagged veggies, sausage, half an avocado. Starting with an idea for slaw, I pulled out the mayo and apple cider vinegar. Then I added a few golden raisins and shredded half a carrot into it.

Looking at the avocado, I wanted to have something inspired by potato salad, so I diced it, added some chopped dill pickle, and a couple of squeezes of mustard. Then I put it on a plate and took this picture. Oh, and I sprinkled smoked paprika on top for color.

How exhilarating to have ideas again. I figured I better document it for inspiration in the next dry season. But in the meantime, it feels good to be back in the saddle again.

28 January 2013

Thai Green Curry and Pineapple Rice

The dish originally on the menu for tonight called for olive oil, and we are out. What to do? Walnut oil is not supposed to be cooked at a high temp. But I had coconut oil, so I decided to try something new. It was pretty good for winging it, but would have been better with bamboo shoots and fresh basil.

Here is my little secret. It's okay, I've seen Thai food blogs that use curry paste in a jar, so it is authentic-ish.

Thai Green Curry
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp coconut oil\
4 chicken thighs, boneless
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/4 cup chicken broth
1 can coconut milk
2 T green curry paste
1 cup sweet potatoes, cooked and cubed
1 small can pineapple chunks, drain and reserve juice
1 small can bamboo shoots, drained
1/4 cup peas Basil, several leaves fresh or 1 tsp dried.

Melt butter and coconut oil over medium high heat. Sear chicken for 2 minutes on each side, then remove and add red bell pepper. Cook 4 minutes and remove. Add chicken broth and deglaze, then pour over chicken and red bell peppers. Pour the top half of the coconut milk in, being careful to only get the solid white part. Boil like crazy for 2 minutes (This is called "cracking the coconut") and then add the curry paste. Stir until paste is completely incorporated, then turn the heat down to medium low. Stir in the rest of the can of coconut milk. Return the chicken and peppers, and all the lovely juices. Add sweet potato, (if you're in a bind, canned sweet potatoes will work, but rinse off that syrup and drain well), pineapple, bamboo shoots, and peas. If you don't have fresh basil, add the dried stuff now. Turn the heat down to low and simmer for 15 minutes. If you're using fresh basil, chop roughly and add just before serving.
*The following recipe is not paleo, but white rice is occasionally okay.

Pineapple Rice
Add juice from pineapple can plus enough water to reach the 1-cup mark on your rice cooker. Add 1 scoop of rice. Cook.

Please don't fight over who gets the chewy crust that forms on the bottom. So that's that. Dinner was made, eaten, and cleaned up, and I still had time to do a load of laundry before bed. 'Night, folks!

12 September 2012


Lately, I have been cooking more hearty, autumnal fare, using my Le Creuset and Lodge Logic pots. Inevitably, my thoughts went to the Le Creuset Pumpkin casserole that I talk myself out of each year.

It is not practical for me to have a dish that I only use a few months out of the year. Because, let's face it, I know me, and there is no way I would cook with that bad boy in, say, February. So I started thinking about last year, remembering this post from Three Many Cooks. And I realized that using real pumpkins will be even more fun, and I won't have to get rid of anything to make room. Real food for the win!

25 June 2012

Challenge Yourself!

Staring into the open refrigerator, I recognized my food fatigue. Do you ever get tired of making the same dishes or the same genre of food? When I don't have a set recipe in mind, the end result usually lands at Italian. Chicken, garlic, onion, oregano, basil, thyme, and rosemary. Sometimes tomatoes. At lunch with friends, Kristen, a teacher friend of mine who each summer undergoes a tremendous transformation into a fearless chef, encouraged us to "Challenge yourself" by trying new recipes. Last night, I decided I wanted to cook with wine. And rosemary. My friend Mel lives in the middle of the city and has this amazing garden. She brings me bouquets of fresh herbs tied with raffia, and I feel compelled to use them for something special. I found Chicken Proven├žal online and asked the hubby to open a bottle of red. Cooking with wine takes food to a whole 'nother level. Plus, it makes me feel legit. Too legit too quit. Instead of cooking oil, I used olive oil. And I omitted the anchovy paste, because I didn't have any. I used pitted Kalamatas, because I didn't have any Nicoise, and they are probably more expensive anyway. It was very good. We're talking, lift the bowl to drink the sauce good. So, we now have another favorite in the rotation. My sweet husband told me, "This is so good, you should be making it for our friends." Guess I'll be breaking out the calendar and scheduling some dinner dates.

17 May 2012

Italian Chicken

Italian Chicken

2 T olive oil
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 T Italian herb seasoning
1 cup Nature Sweet Cherubs tomatoes
1 cup Cara Mia marinated artichoke hearts
1 lb. organic baby spinach
1 elephant garlic clove (or 3 garlic cloves)

Heat 1 T olive oil in a skillet. Slice chicken breasts lengthwise and coat with Italian herb seasoning. Cook over medium-high heat for two minutes and then turn. Cook two more minutes, and then flip to third side. After two minutes, add tomatoes and artichoke hearts, cover with lid, and turn heat to low. Meanwhile, heat one Tablespoon olive oil in a large frying pan. Finely dice one section of elephant garlic and toss in. Cook two minutes, stirring once or twice, and add baby spinach. Cover with a lid and cook two more minutes. Add sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and stir. Cook two more minutes, or until all the leaves are wilted. If you are a multi-tasker, this meal can be on the table in under fifteen minutes. Put the spinach on the plate first, stack two pieces of chicken on top, and ring with tomatoes and artichokes.

It looks fancy and is really easy. And inexpensive. And healthy. I almost feel like I cheated somehow. Hey honey, I just saved us forty dollars and a twenty minute wait for a table. Can I go get a pedicure?

08 May 2012

Paleo Pioneer Woman

It's no secret that I'm a fan of Ree, The Pioneer Woman. Almost three years ago, my dear friend Tiffany told me about this blog I HAD to check out. Her writing captured my attention and cooking her recipes kept me busy in the kitchen. At one point, I even contemplated a Ree and Jenn Marie Project where I cooked through all her recipes. HA! Anyone who knows how frequently she posts and how sporadically I do knows that is a mathematical impossibility. Anyhoo, I have cooked several of her recipes, taken awfully composed pictures of many, had my husband take better pictures recently, and still only a pitiful few made it into posts. What is it they say is paved with good intentions? Yes, so last week we started fully embracing the Paleo lifestyle, and I'm trying to incorporate some of our favorite dishes. Last night, I cooked her Chicken with Olives, making some modifications, and was pleased with the result. And as I scarfed the leftovers at lunch today, I remembered there was no photo, so I whipped out my Android and took a quick photo. Can someone please inject me with good photography skills so I don't have to think about it? I start reading posts about it, and then I see a link to recipes on the right, and I'm off on a rabbit trail, and I "save" the article for later. Squirrel!

The following changes Paleoized this recipe. Use coconut oil instead of butter. Remove the skin from the chicken thighs. Use coconut milk instead of cream, and increase to 1/2 cup. Serve over spaghetti squash instead of pasta. Last night, I forgot the olives. Ten minutes before I'm supposed to pull dinner from the oven, as I'm prepping other food for later this week and feeling pleased as punch with myself that I'm so with it on a Monday night, it struck me...I'm making Chicken with Olives and forgot the olives. So, I threw them in real quick like and then announced to hubby how duncelike I felt. Can you imagine if we had people over? Yes, I'm a great cook, I forgot the main ingredient. Oops. If you happen to have any leftovers, this dish tastes even better the next day. This is the fourth time I've made this dish, and it is now being elevated to "Showcase Dish." There are certain meals I cook for company, South American, Greek, Thai, Meatloaf, Pot Roast, and now this will be added to the list. Guess I need to evaluate and Paleoize the others. And post before and afters so that I preserve the recipes for posterity and friends.

01 May 2012


Image from BigChuy Last night, in the throws of carb craving that is imminent when embarking on a new healthy eating plan, I created this dish. I know I am not the first to come up with this, but the hubby liked this version and asked me to make it again.

Spaghetti Squash Marinara

1 spaghetti squash, halved, seeds removed
1 lb. ground sirloin
1 T oregano
1 t basil
1/2 t garlic powder
1/4 t rosemary
1 jar sugarless marinara with olives and mushrooms

Bake squash face-down at 400 for 25 minutes. Remove and let cool down, so you don't burn your fingers. Brown the sirloin, adding dried spices just before finished and rubbing between your fingers to activate the oils. Or use fresh if you have a green thumb. Add the jar of marinara, making sure it has no ingredients that aren't grown in dirt. Turn down the heat and simmer. Meanwhile, with a fork, scrape the innards from the squash skin and be amazed at the noodle-ness of it all.* Combine and serve to happy family.

*Note: If the squash is going to sit for any amount of time, it is best to serve or store in a steamer insert over a saucepan, as it will accumulate lots of liquid. Almost half an inch of liquid drained out during dinner. Seriously, this guy the Paleo pasta lover's friend.