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Category Archives: Main Dish

Tofu Stir-Fry

Tofu. I’m not sure about you– but let’s just say this wasn’t my idea of “yum” just a few years back. Diets do interesting things to you, and this recent one has gotten me trying many new things. As children, my sisters and I would tease our mom when she had tofu. Well, I have had to literally eat my words, because I’ve grown to like it! I enjoy eating it in all sorts of things, but most especially I love it now in stir fry!

 

Besides the fact that tofu is very healthy for you, it leaves you with a light but satisfied feeling. You won’t feel overstuffed or bloated after you have this dish. Even my husband, who I was a littler nervous for, looked down at his plate asked if this was tofu, proceeded to take a bite and said “it’s good!”. 🙂

 

 

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 carrot, sliced on diagonal

2 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 pound broccoli crowns, cut into small florets

1/4 cup reduced- sodium vegetable broth

1 pound reduced-fat firm tofu, cut into 1/2 inch cubes

8 shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and caps thinly sliced

1 red bell pepper, julienned

1 onion, sliced

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 1/2 tablespoons asian sesame oil

pinch red pepper flakes

 

 

Directions:

1. Heat nonstick wok or deep large nonstick skillet over high heat until drop of water sizzles in pan; add oil and swirl to coat pan. Add carrot and stir-fry 1 minute. Add ginger and garlic; stir-fry 30 seconds. Add broccoli and broth; cook, covered , 2 minutes

2. Add tofu, mushrooms, and bell peppers to wok; stir-fry until bell pepper is soft, about 3 minutes. Add all remaining ingredients; stir-fry 1 minute longer

 

 

*taken from Weight Watcher’s New Complete Cook book

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Posted by on August 21, 2012 in Main Dish, Peppers, Rice, Tofu, Vegetable

 

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Chili Chicken and Potatoes

It has been quite a few months since I have blogged in any way about my food. Recently by the advice of some wise counselors, I was advised to not share recipes that were my own creation, but instead to save those in case I might like to publish them someday. Seeing as most of my cooking tends to be from my head or a derivation off of some recipe, this posed as a problem for my blog. 

Lately though, I have felt the itch to try new recipes and venture off in directions that are not “home base”. In doing so, I need to follow recipes since I am not yet comfortable with all of these spices or instinctively knowing which of these new flavor “colors” should go where. 

My husband and I have been frequenting more and more Indian restaurants as of late- and when these potatoes mentioned some fun spices- I got to thinking that this dish is “spicy” but more in the sense of an Indian “spicy” rather than a HOT spicy.

Chicken:

5-7 chicken drumsticks, bone in, skin removed

1 tablespoon chili powder

2 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon salt

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper (optional)

Place racks in middle and lower third of oven. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place rack in roasting pan; spray with nonstick spray. Spray 9×13-inch baking dish with nonstick spray.

To make spice paste, stir together chili powder, paprika, oregano, cumin, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and the garlic in a cup. Add enough water to form thick paste. Spread over the chicken.

Potatoes:

3 (10 ounce) baking potatoes, quartered lengthwise.

2 tablespoons of Italian seasoning

1 tsp of salt (or more to suit your taste)

Roast chicken on middle oven rack until instant-read thermometer inserted into drumsticks (not touching bone) registers 180 degrees F, about 1 hour.

Meanwhile, put potatoes in prepared baking dish; lightly spray with nonstick spray and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt and additional spices. After chicken has roasted 20 minutes, put potatoes on lower oven rack and roast, turning once or twice, until tender and lightly browned, about 40 minutes.

 
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Posted by on August 9, 2012 in Chicken, Main Dish, Meat, Potatoe

 

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Jambalaya

Awhile back, my husband got enthralled with the show “Swamp People” awhile back. I would occasionally peer over to see what it was he was so interested in, but mostly I just let him tell me about it. Apparently, sometimes the “swamp people” would also cook things. One episode, they must have referred to “Jambalaya” or something, because Tom started asking about it. I explained how it’s a Cajun dish and it generally has shrimp and beef and chicken and rice in it with a nice smattering of vegetables. Ever since that day, it’s come up in conversation now and again with Tom always being curious how it tasted. On a whim, he requested to make jambalaya today. Well, I don’t usually keep frozen shrimp on hand or fresh for that matter, so I made a jambalaya without it. Let me tell you though, it turned out beautiful! Tom loved it so much, he had three bowl-fulls! 

 

  • 2 c uncooked rice
  • 4 c water
  • 1/8 c turmeric
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 2 lbs boiled chicken
  • 1 lb boiled sausage (mild or hot)
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 4 ribs celery, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • cayenne pepper
  • 1/3 c flour
  • 14 oz. diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups homemade chicken stock
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp thyme
In a medium pot, fill halfway with water, and bring to a boil. Add chicken, and let boil. In another medium pot, fill with water and bring sausage to a boil. In the meantime, dice onions and celery. When sausage is cooked thoroughly, remove from pot, and remove skin from sausage. Dice sausage. Set aside.
In a third pot, measure out four cups of water. Add 2 cups of white rice. Add turmeric. Bring to boil, and then reduce to a simmer.
Return to your boiling chicken, check for doneness and meat falling off the bone. Remove from boiling water, and debone chicken. Reserve chicken stock.
In a frying pan, brown the chicken and sausage in 1 tbs of olive oil. Add celery and onions, when onions become translucent, sprinkle with flour and cook two more minutes. Then, add diced tomatoes and juice, chicken stock, cumin, chili, cayenne, bay leaf and Worcestershire. Bring to a boil.
Ladle broth into a bowl and top with a scoop of rice. Enjoy!
 
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Posted by on January 17, 2012 in Chicken, Main Dish, Meat, Onions, Pork, Rice, Vegetable

 

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Russet Potatoes and Winter Vegetables with Venison Steaks

Living in the Chicago area has awaked my interests to the world of food. Not just food I’m used to, but all foods from all nationalities and ethnicities. I love the diversity that is here! Now, I am interested in those “other” items in the store, whereas I probably hardly noticed them, and in many places they probably weren’t available. Before you assume I’ve gone and found some extremely *unheard of* vegetable, think again, you have heard of both of these, but I’ve never cooked with them until recently. Parsnips and Butternut Squash. I fell in love, head over heels, with Butternut squash in the last recipe I used it in. I eye it temptingly as I pass it by in the aisles.

Today when I was in the store, I passed by a whole aisle of root vegetables. The turnips looked great, so did the parsnips. I looked across the way and eyed some butternut squash that also looked very lovely. I will do something with the turnips another day, but I so enjoyed using the Parsnips and Butternut squash in this recipe.

I originally was going to use white onions in this dish, but lacked the right amount, and had enough purple onion, and realized how much more beautiful it would look with that instead. Tom loved this dish. He couldn’t quit raving about the quick little sauce I put together for it.

I was not expecting to like this dish as much as I did. I thought it would be good… but I wasn’t anticipating the explosion of flavors and the warm embrace of the butternut squash, potatoe, parsnip, and onion mixture. A beautiful combination I would recommend for the winter especially.

  • 6 or 7 large Russet potatoes
  • 4 large parsnips
  • 1 large butternut squash
  • 1 large purple onion
  • 6 venison steaks (can be subsituted with beef steaks)
  • parsley
  • Olive Oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Oregano
  • Celery Stalk
  • Cayenne Pepper

Preheat over to 450 degrees F. Wash and chop Russet potatoes, leaving skin on. Peel and chop the butternut squash, onion,  and parsnips, making sure to leave in large chunks. Toss with a generous amount of olive oil, salt, pepper, rosemary, thyme, and oregano. Add more salt than seems necessary, as the vegetables and potatoes will all soak it up. Place into the oven for 20 minutes covered in foil, check for partial doneness. If at least half way cooked, uncover until cooked thoroughly. If not, recover and cook for 10 minutes more. Using a flat spatula, gently turn the mixture, letting each piece have a chance to brown and crisp slightly. When dish is cooked through, potatoes are soft, remove, add chopped parsley. Set aside.

Pat dry venison steaks or beef steaks. Pierce with a fork multiple times, and massage in your favorite spice for either meat. (I used “Chicago Steak” from Weber Grilling Options. I would recommend anything with a high pepper content to highlight the venison.) In a heated frying pan, sear venison steaks, watching carefully to not let meat overcook.

In food processor, add a handful of parsley, celery stalk, 1/3 cup of Olive Oil, 1/3 raw parsnip, sliced, Cayenne pepper and Italian seasoning. Blend, adding salt and pepper to taste. Use to accompany the meat. Enjoy!

 

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Fettucine Aglio E Olio with Lemon Baked Chicken

I remember when I was young, trying to say “Aglio e Olio”. I think for years, I wasn’t even entirely sure what it meant. I just knew this dish was one of my absolute favorites. I remember cooking this up on days when life just wasn’t going well. Lemon slices in water are a must for this dish.

In this dish most especially, make sure you have high quality Extra Virgin Olive oil, such as Filippo Berio. Oil and garlic are the two stars in this dish, and you will not regret the extra money spent on quality olive oil. Also, whereas most dishes you could possibly subsitute the cheese, do not do so in this recipe. Only use a sharp sheep cheese, such as Romano Pecorino or Parmigiano Reggiano. Again, this is worth the extra money, you will not get the same effect with a softer or milder cheese.

  • 1 lb Fettucine pasta
  • 4 cloves garlic, coarsley chopped
  • Extra Virgin olive Oil
  • ¼ c chopped parsley
  • ¼ c grated Romano Pecorino

Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil, add fettucine and season with salt. In a small frying pan, lighty sauté the garlic. Set aside while pasta finishes cooking. Chop parsley. Toss cooked pasta with garlic infused olive oil and chopped parsley.

  • 4 chicken thighs
  • 4 chicken drumsticks
  • 3 large lemons
  • Dried Oregano
  • Dried Basil
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Move the rack to the middle of the oven. Remove skins from thighs and drumsticks. Place in a 13×9″ pan. Spear each piece with a sharp knife or fork. Squeeze lemons over the speared chicken, and season with dried oregano. Cover with foil and bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until juices come out clear.

 
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Posted by on October 26, 2011 in Chicken, Main Dish, Meat, Pasta

 

Turmeric Rice with Venison and Beans

As I have said in the past, my husband is a hunter and so there is a lot of venison to be had in our household. Constantly on the hunt for new options and ways to use it, I often feel like I’m on the tv show “Chopped” as I am given this pound of ground venison meat and wonder to myself “how am I going to use it this time?”

I’ve looked online for various ideas, but it doesn’t seem like venison is too popular of a meat to cook with. This creation came about because of the fact that Tom was asking for rice, and I wanted to use some of the venison in the freezer. Compromise, one of the greatest aspects of marriage, so I’m learning!

  • 4 cups of white rice
  • 8 cups of water
  • 2 lbs ground venison (or beef)
  • Ground Tumeric
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Parsley, coarsley chopped
  • Frozen corn
  • Frozen Beans

In a medium pot, put rice, water, salt, pepper, and enough tumeric that the water turns a vibrant orange yellow. Bring to a boil, and then lower to a simmer. Cook approx. 10 minutes, or until there is barely no water left in the bottom of the pot. Set aside.

In the mean time, using a spatula, break the two pounds of venison up in a frying pan on medium heat. Add salt and pepper to taste. Be generous, as venison tends to soak up salt. When meat is almost cooked through, gently lay the frozen corn and beans on top, and let thaw- do not over cook.

Rice can be served separate from the meat and vegetables, or it may be combined in the large frying pan with the meat. Toss rice with a fork, adding parsley a little at a time. Sprinkle with Cayenne Pepper.

 
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Posted by on October 18, 2011 in Main Dish, Meat, Rice

 

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Penne with Butternut Squash and Walnuts

Yesterday was a day for adventure. Knowing that today would be a busy day, I decided to go out early and do my shopping. Though this makes the trek home from work long, I figured if I just went shopping on Friday, I’d have the day free to do as I liked. Saturdays and Sundays are the two days that I get to really spend time with my husband, and though we do enjoy shopping together- I’d rather be doing other things.

I went off to my local market that is always bursting with fresh produce and interesting things I’ve never cooked with before. As I entered the market, there in front of me was a sign saying “Butternut Squash: 49¢ per lb.”. I’d never used butternut squash or tasted it. I had heard lots of good things from watching the cooking channel and what other people had told me, but I had no first hand experience. “Why not just try it?”, I found myself asking. So in the cart went the “nicest” looking butternut squash, since I didn’t even know what I was supposed to be looking for.

When I returned home, I hunted up some recipes about Butternut squash. I found quite a few with rice or pasta or in a soup of some kind. I did not have even half of the items that were in Giada’s recipe- since she always seems to have a lot of “unexpected” items- in this case goat cheese. So, I decided to come up with my own adaptation of the recipe and it turned out great!

  • 1 large butternut squash, peeled, and diced
  • salt and pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 1 lb. penne pasta
  • parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 cup sharp grating cheese (i.e. Romano Peccorino)
  • 1 cup finely chopped walnuts
  • 2 cups reserved pasta water
  • 4 medium onions, cut into thick wedges

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. On a baking sheet, arrange onions and butternut squash. Drizzle with olive oil. Toss. Season generously with salt and pepper. Let bake for 40-50 minutes or until lightly browned. Set aside to cool.

On the stove, bring a pot of water to a boil for the penne pasta. In the meantime, chop parsley and walnuts. Once the pasta is al dente, strain, saving some water to add back. Add the pasta, butternut squash, onions, grating cheese, and walnuts. Stir adding reserved pasta water a little bit at a time. Add in more pepper and the chopped parsley. Enjoy!

 
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Posted by on October 15, 2011 in Main Dish

 

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