RSS

Tag Archives: tomatoes

Moroccan Chicken Stew – Exotic and Delish!

Moroccan Chicken Stew – Exotic and Delish!
cinnamon, cumin, black and red pepper, and turmeric.

This little jar holds cinnamon, cumin, black and red pepper, and turmeric.

When I find a ready-made food that I really enjoy, I like to try and re-create it in my own kitchen. Campbell’s Soup is trying to reach out to the younger set with new and interesting soups in pouches under the name “Campbell’s Go.”  I’m from the tail-end of the Baby Boomers – not a Millennial, but my taste buds aren’t dead yet! I tried and loved their Moroccan Style Chicken soup, so I made a note of the ingredients and gave it a try. What really helped was finding a jar of a Moroccan spice blend – saved me from trying to figure out how much turmeric –vs- cinnamon or cumin! The first time, I used diced tomatoes for the base, and added some water; I also used leftover rotisserie chicken instead of starting from scratch. It was flavorful, but too soupy – not the consistency I was looking for. This time, I used crushed tomatoes and a tub of concentrated chicken stock (look for it near the broths in the soup aisle) as the base which gave me the consistency I was looking for – more like a spaghetti sauce than a soup. I also used boneless, skinless chicken thighs (3 for this recipe), that I cut up into chunks before cooking, so the prep was longer, but ultimately worth it. Overall, I’d say it took about ½ hour of prep and I simmered it for under an hour. I served it with couscous and flat bread in a soup plate.

  • 2 c. cubed raw chicken
  • ½ c coarsely chopped onion
  • 1 c coarsely chopped carrots
  • 1 tbl olive oil

    Chicken,carrots and onions, sauteed in olive oil.

    Chicken,carrots and onions, sauteed in olive oil.

  • 1-28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1-14.5 oz can garbanzo beans, drained
  • Fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 1-2 tbl Moroccan spice mix
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 serving concentrated chicken stock

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add onions and cook for a couple of minutes; add chicken and pepper to taste. Stir and cook chicken/onion mixture for 5 minutes and then add the carrots and continue to cook and stir until carrots begin to soften. Dump in the tomatoes and garbanzo beans; add stock and spices, stir. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 30-45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve in a shallow bowl with couscous and naan bread.

Moroccan Chicken Stew, couscous, flat bread

Dinner is served!

 
1 Comment

Posted by on February 1, 2014 in Recipe

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Cooking for Two: Caprese Sauce on Basil Gnocchi

Cooking for Two: Caprese Sauce on Basil Gnocchi

Don’t you just love those caprese appetizers? Those little fresh mozzarella balls and cherry tomatoes skewered on picks and drizzled with balsamic vinegar? So yummy! I decided to make a sauce based on those delightful, summery, picks-o-goodness! Only no toothpicks. Because that would be dangerous.

I picked up a package of basil gnocchi at our local World Market for this dish, but regular gnocchi should work also. I used “pearl” tomatoes – which are more golf-ball sized, so I’m not sure where the name came from! A couple of diced, seeded Roma tomatoes would work just dandy. Speaking of pearls, I wish I could have found those cute little pearl-sized fresh mozzarella balls, but oh well!

1 – 16 oz. pkg. Basil Gnocchi

3-4 cloves Roasted Garlic

mozzarella balls, tomatoes, basil, caprese sauce

The sauce just needs to simmer a little longer to warm through!

¾ c white wine

1 tbl. Balsamic vinegar

1 tbl olive oil

3 small Tomatoes, cut in wedges and seeded

Salt & Pepper to taste

1/3 c chopped fresh basil (I use scissors)

12 fresh mozzarella balls (1 inch size –although I would have loved to have found the pearl-sized mozzarella)

SAUCE: Measure the wine and Balsamic vinegar into a small saucepan – add the roasted garlic and bring to a simmer. Cook 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, salt & pepper and simmer 2 minutes longer. Put in the mozzarella balls and basil and warm through.

gnocchi, caprese sauce, basil, tomatoes, mozzarella balls

We ate every single bite!

GNOCCHI: Using only mountain spring water, hauled by hand in a copper bucket…kidding! Cook according to package directions. Drain and return to the pan. Pour the sauce over the gnocchi and stir gently. Serve immediately.

Note: I should have added a teaspoon of sugar to the sauce to cut the acidity of the tomatoes and vinegar…next time!!

 
1 Comment

Posted by on January 23, 2014 in Recipe

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Pre-made Simmmer Sauce, Packaged Soup Mix: Is it cheating?

Lemon Artichoke Simmer Sauce

After a recent shopping trip that included World Market, I came away with a couple of packaged recipe starters – a simmer sauce and dried soup mixes. Although some purists may disagree, I don’t believe using such things for inspiration or a jumping off point is cheating. If I am adding 4 or more ingredients I have to prepare myself to make a complete dish, then it is merely one of the steps in the preparation. (Step 5. Dump in Simmer Sauce) Few of us have the time it would take to create a fresh sauce of this sort – at least in time for that evening’s dinner! The one I chose had lemon juice, artichokes and white wine as its main flavors – which sounded like a marvelous combination to me! I used boneless chicken thighs (1 1/2 lb) that I dredged in flour/ground pepper and then lightly browned in olive oil.

4 or more ingredients added? Not cheating!

I added chopped onion (1/2 c), sliced zucchini (2 small), canned artichoke quarters (14 oz., drained), and mushrooms (1 c sliced), as well as the sauce, and simmered for 35-40 minutes. I served it on Basmati rice to soak up the juices. Delicious!

My other recipe starter was World Market’s Bistro Style Lentil Soup Mix. Even though there were dehydrated vegetables in the mix, the instructions called for fresh ingredients like onion (1/2 onion, chopped), garlic (2 cloves – it called for 4!), and carrots (1 c chopped), as well as canned diced tomatoes (14.5 oz) and chicken broth (2 c). I took it a bit further and added mushrooms (1 c sliced), spinach (2 c)  and sliced cooked Aidell’s Sausage (1 pkg. chicken & apple).

Dried Soup Mix

The soup had to simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, so this is not something you can decide to make on the spur of the moment! In all fairness, you would have simmer it that long if you gathered and measured all the lentils yourself. Undercooked lentils are crunchy and not really what you are going for in a soup. The house smelled amazing while it was cooking, by the way. I’m surprised there wasn’t a line of neighbors – or raccoons – outside the door by the time it was ready to be served! I chose a chewy ciabatta roll as an accompaniment to this soup, so we could swipe out our bowls!

Something that could have been done before adding the sausage and spinach (they were added with about 1/2 hour to go), would be to run it through a blender to make it smooth and creamy, but I had to dash out the door after bolting down a quick, still-simmering bowl, so maybe next time!

A hearty soup for a chilly day!

PS When I returned home, I grabbed a second bowl and my ciabatta roll – tasty! Plenty of leftovers, too!

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 20, 2011 in Information, Recipe

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

A Recipe in Progress: Orzo & Red Rice

"I'm late - but dinner won't be!"

When they first came out, frozen dinners were a marvel of science; a product of convenience for the modern woman. Later they became a symbol of poor nutrition and of lack of finesse in the kitchen. Today, you can find frozen dinners that are tasty and healthy. One that I tried when I had a solo weekend was by Healthy Choice (I think) and called “Mediterranean Pasta.” I loved it! It had pasta, rice apples, cranberries, spinach – very flavorful. Naturally, it was discontinued, but not before I wrote down all the ingredients and attempted to re-create this dish for myself! As it says in the title of this post, it is a work in progress…

I still don’t think I have the spices down quite right – none were specifically mentioned on the package (curse them!), but who’s going to know the difference? They don’t make this one anymore! If this sounds like your kind of recipe, please give it a try and let me know what you thought; what changes you made; how it can be improved, etc.

And speaking of changes, I like the flavor of Swiss chard better than spinach and I added mushrooms (small, sliced Portabello mushrooms). I’m calling it “Orzo and Red Rice” because I already have a recipe I use with the original name.

Let’s talk about ingredients: Red rice is an interesting choice and you may need to look hard for it, but I think a wild rice would be an acceptable substitute, nutrition and texture-wise. Fontina cheese is similar to mozzarella, but I’ve also substituted smoked extra sharp cheddar – the recipe only calls for 1/2 cup, so it is not a huge issue. Swiss chard is a fairly new vegetable for me – we bought a farm-share one summer and ended up with a lot of it. My research indicated that the stems are not eaten and the big vein down the middle should be removed, so that is how I prepare it. Also – a bunch makes a big pile of chard shards! Don’t panic because it will cook down in a few minutes. Like most of the other meatless main dish I make, my husband thinks it would be better if it included sausage or some other meat. Up to you! Apple juice was listed in the original ingredients’ list, but that is not something I keep around much. I usually end up buying a 3 pack of 100% apple juice in little boxes. (Hence, I chose 6 oz. as the amount of apple juice needed in the recipe!)

Ready to serve!

This recipe takes about 45 minutes, including prep., so it is very doable on a busy night. It all goes into one pot – in my case, a deep, 12 inch covered skillet (one of my most-used pans!), so you don’t have too much to clean up afterward- especially if you have a dog who will snap up that apple piece you dropped!

Be sure to let me know how/if you liked it and any other comments you wish to make!

 
2 Comments

Posted by on September 20, 2011 in Asking for Feedback, Recipe

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Gemelli Pasta with Bacon & Broccoli Rabe

While on a family visit to Michigan, my husband and I went to the local grocery store to pick up a few things for his mom. At the checkout stand were the usual impulse items: candy, gossip rags, magazines geared toward women and cooking magazines. One of the cooking magazines caught my eye – Cooking Light: 5 Ingredient, 15 Minute Recipes. It had a beautiful picture of grilled salmon with a chutney or something artfully drizzled on it – looked very yummy! I picked it up (just as the merchandiser intended, I know!) and flipped it open to a full page photograph of the finished result of the recipe I’m going to share with you in this post. No – I didn’t tear out the recipe and leave the rest of the magazine! How dare you suggest such a thing! No -I bought it, took it back to the in-law’s and proceeded to go over it with a yellow highlighter and post-it flags. Yes, really. There are quite a few tasty ideas in that magazine and you may see more of them here in the future!

They play a little fast and loose with the definition of “ingredient” in the magazine – spices, water, oil (or other cooking fat) are not included in the “5” promised by the title. And the 15 minute time frame is tossed right out the window. It is clearly typed below this particular recipe, “Prep: 4 min. Cook: 25 min.” I added that up and guess what? Yup – over 15 minutes! (Thank you 2nd grade math!) The prep time – set at 4 minutes, assumes you pre-sliced garlic, pre-cut up bacon, pre-trimmed broccoli rabe*, etc. No – I think it took me probably 45 minutes to pull this together, but that is not too bad in the scheme of things. As always, I altered the recipe – this time by adding quartered artichoke hearts, quartered grape tomatoes and serving with Parmesan cheese. If I had had any feta in the house, I would have ignored the Parmesan, added sliced black olives and sprinkled it liberally with feta cheese – but that will be for another time! For a PDF of the recipe that you can view and print, click here.

To be clear, everything ended up in the large skillet – mine is wok-like with a glass lid and I think it is sometimes referred to as a “chef’s pan” or the “everything pan” – I do use it a lot and rarely use regular skillets.

Gemelli Pasta-Broccoli Rabe-Bacon-Tomatoes-Artichoke Hearts...

*If you are confused about Broccoli Rabe, it is sometimes sold as “baby broccoli.”

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 11, 2011 in Recipe

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Summer Eating: Toss it Together!

The other day I was ready for lunch but didn’t know what to have. I had a few ripe avocados (not “guacamole ripe,” still semi-firm), a couple of tomatoes and some cut up mangoes in the fridge. I’ve had mango salsa before, but decided to try just cubing the ingredients, tossing in some bleu cheese (which you will have guessed by now is a fave!) and grinding some fresh pepper over the mixture. I probably should have drizzled a little vinaigrette over it, but ended up putting a blob of bleu cheese dressing on it instead. It was so pretty, I had to take a picture!

How pretty is this? Very!

This was before the dressing so you could see the colors clearly. And the taste? Delish! This is one small avocado, a smallish tomato and 2 spears of mango. (Trader Joe’s has sliced mangoes in the fridge case for pretty cheap – worth it if you’ve ever tried to cut up a slippery mango and dropped it or something…not that I have…I’m just saying it’s a possibility…) I put maybe a tablespoon of bleu cheese crumbles and ground a few turns of pepper on it before tossing. A tablespoon or so of dressing topped it all.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on August 9, 2011 in Information, Recipe, Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Caesar Pasta Salad

With warmer temperatures comes the need for “cool food” – a cold dinner that doesn’t take a lot of cooking to heat up your home. Of course you can always barbeque and pick up deli salads, but if you want to provide the “wow” factor, something homemade (and easy!) is ultimately the better choice. I know that if I get compliments over a dinner I bought from the deli, it just doesn’t feel the same as when I’ve put my own effort into the making of the meal. (Eater: “Hey, babe! Great dinner – we should do this more often!” Cook: “Yeah – I can really open those deli containers, can’t I? I have found my cooking niche!”)

Caesar Pasta Salad - on the patio!

I developed this recipe from trying deli versions of something similar – I think it’s better! And it’s one I can make without having to look anything up – it’s super easy. Here is what you need: 8 oz. uncooked bow-tie pasta, fresh ground pepper, 1-2 c. shaved Parmesan cheese (bigger flavor – check the deli at your grocery store) – shredded will do, 10 oz (give or take) jar of Caesar Dressing – I like the refrigerated kinds by Marie’s or Litehouse, 2 c. bite-sized pieces of broccoli, 1 c. cherry tomatoes (halved), 1 can quartered artichoke hearts (water packed, drained), 1/2 onion, chopped.

Cook your pasta according to package directions, drain and rinse in cold water until you can stir it easily with your hand. Drain well and put into large bowl. Stir in about 1/2 jar of the dressing (this time, use a spoon!) and set aside. Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil. Add broccoli and onion – cook for 1 minute, drain and rinse as you did for the pasta. This helps the broccoli have a bright green color and still be salad-crisp – it will also cut the sharpness of your onions (especially if you have someone who is not fond of onions!). Add the vegetables to the pasta and stir – adding more dressing as needed. Stir in Parmesan cheese and halved tomatoes. Mix well, adding dressing to desired level of moistness. Add ground pepper periodically to taste. Garnish with additional cheese, tomatoes and/or pepper (or nothing!) refrigerate for several hours before serving. You can also add leftover cooked chicken to the salad to make it a meal instead of an accompaniment. The pasta I used for the pictured salad was multi-colored so it looks very colorful, but regular pasta sets off the bright broccoli and tomatoes better visually. (my opinion!) Serve with extra dressing, cheese and have your pepper grinder handy. This makes a huge bowl and the leftovers are great for lunch – on the patio!

 
1 Comment

Posted by on June 30, 2011 in Recipe

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,