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Archive for February, 2009

Keema

I’ve been racking my brain lately trying to think of ground chicken recipes. I’ve already made spaghetti with meat sauce, spaghetti with meatballs, lettuce wraps, Mexican food, lasagna, meatloaf, etc., and I wasn’t really in the mood for a casserole so I thought to myself, WHAT MORE CAN I DO?! I always buy ground chicken because it’s almost always on sale and so far, I’ve made some pretty good food with it. Anyway, I was in the Bay Area for a day (literally) and I managed to have some delicious Indian food (my favorite! butter chicken!), and I thought of another entree I could make with ground chicken–keema!

Keema is a common and incredibly simple Indian dish; it’s basically minced meat cooked with diced onions and peas or potatoes and served over a bed of fluffy rice or with some naan. It’s spicy and kind of oily, but it really hits the spot.

Keep in mind that you can use any kind of meat but of course, I used ground chicken. Also, I didn’t have any peas or potatoes so I substituted sliced grape tomatoes. My ex’s dad makes keema really oily and buttery and it’s not really dry.. it has some kind of tomato sauce or something to it. That’s why I added the grape tomatoes. Also, I didn’t have the typical Indian spices (I know garam masala is commonly used) so I had to make do with my curry powder and cumin.

Anyway, I marinated the ground chicken for a few hours when I came home during my lunch break.

  • Olive oil
  • Curry powder
  • Cumin
  • Red chili powder
  • Diced onions
  • Diced shallots
  • Minced garlic
  • Salt & pepper
  • Garlic salt
  • Oregano
  • SOME cayenne pepper. You don’t want to overpower the smoky cumin & curry flavor
  • Sriracha sauce! This added that extra kick I love

I cooked the entire thing in a pan with some heated olive oil. I didn’t have the time or patience to really hack at mincing the meat, plus I prefer my ground chicken on the chunky side. Also, like I said, I didn’t have peas or potatoes and I really wanted some tomato sauce so I halved some grape tomatoes and squeezed some of the juices out of them. I left the halves in also because I love grape tomatoes (if you haven’t noticed..).

It turned out pretty well. I think I balanced out the curry spice and cumin smokiness with the heat of the sriracha sauce and the cayenne pepper. I really wish I had some peas or potatoes, though.

If it gets too spicy, I’d suggest eating it with a dollop of plain yogurt. Straight up Indian style.

Serve over rice.

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$ breakdown:

  • $3 for a package of ground chicken
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Note – you can keep the roux thick & add less milk/cream & stock to make this into a chowder but I opted for a pasta sauce instead.  I love my carbs!

Roux:

  • Flour
  • Butter

Be sure not to burn the flour!!! FYI – a roux is a thickening agent. You should be using equal amounts of both.

White sauce:

  • Roux
  • Seafood stock (I used what I had leftover–about 1/2 to 3/4 cups)
  • 1/4 c white wine
  • Milk (heavy cream works too) — I used enough to thin out the roux just a bit.. the whole sauce was still thick
  • Minced garlic
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Lemon juice to taste
  • Chopped parsley
  • Chopped basil
  • More butter
  • Sliced mushrooms
  • Diced shallots
  • Diced onions
  • Green onions
  • Halved grape tomatoes (to top)

Stir, stir, stir! Let this cook for a while so the flavors blend. Meanwhile, you can pan sear the scallops. Most IMPORTANT thing about scallops (after you tear out that hard piece of muscle) — be absolutely sure to pat them dry before you cook them. Wet scallops will not sear the way you want!

However, because I was using tiny scallops, I didn’t pan sear them. I would’ve preferred large scallops but I’m on a budget here. So anyway, I s&p’d the scallops and then cooked them in olive oil and butter for 1 minute. I didn’t cook them all the way through because I wanted them to get warm in the sauce.

Serve with noodles. Or rice.. rice in this sauce would make an excellent stew. MMM, I might do that for lunch today with my leftovers. 🙂

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$ breakdown:

  • ~$3 for <1 lb of scallops

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Ravioli (kinda) and Tomato sauce

We had a TON of lasagna noodles left and I didn’t really want to make the same thing again so I thought–hey, I can use those same lasagna noodles to make ravioli! Kinda clever, right? I wasn’t too sure how everything was going to pan out but I had pretty high hopes. 🙂

Tomato sauce recipe:

  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 small can of tomato sauce
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & pepper
  • Oregano
  • Minced garlic
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Honey (tomatoes are acidic and I wanted to sweeten the sauce a touch but Tim doesn”t have sugar. He has splenda. Boo!)
  • Fresh parsley
  • Mushrooms

I placed everything in a small slow cooker around 10 am (we ate dinner around 10 pm). Set it and forget it!

Ravioli filling:

  • Ground chicken
  • Minced garlic
  • Soy sauce
  • Salt & pepper
  • Leftover picada
  • 1 egg (to keep it nice and moist)
  • Breadcrumbs

Mix everything together.

Process:

I boiled some lasagna noodles, cut off the ridges and placed a SMALL amount of the filling about 2 inches apart on each noodle. I placed a second noodle on top and sealed the edges with some egg. Um, the egg didn’t paste things together very well.

Make sure you do NOT place this in boiling water. You don’t want your filling to pop out! Cook the ravioli in a pot of water under medium heat. ABSOLUTELY NO BUBBLES.

Top with parmesan cheese.

I know the pictures are hideous but trust me–it was still very delicious. The first is of the process & the second is of the entree itself. The sauce, by the way, wasn’t watery–I just didn’t drain the ravioli very well. That was a big mistake on my part, oh well. Now I know!

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Fish Tacos

Taco seasoning:

  • Chili powder
  • Oregano
  • Salt & pepper
  • Cumin

I marinated cubed white fish in the taco seasoning about 1/2 hour before I started cooking. I also squeezed a LITTLE bit of fresh lemon juice into this mixture. Be sure not to add too much–you don’t want tartare! Just pan-fry this in some olive oil until the fish flakes with a fork. If desired, you can sprinkle cornstarch or flour onto the fish to make it kinda crispy.

Fish taco white sauce (this is what makes it fattening.. and delicious):

  • Mayo
  • Sour cream
  • Cilantro
  • Salt & pepper
  • Lemon juice

Mix it all together and refrigerate.

Pico de gallo (I had to make my own since Gristedes doesn’t carry ready-made stuff):

  • Tomato (I like mine firm)
  • Cilantro
  • Diced red onion
  • Minced garlic
  • Lemon juice
  • Salt & pepper

Also, *important*, before I started, I pre-heated the oven to 250 degrees, wrapped a stack of tortillas in foil and popped them into the oven.

We used guacamole (ready-made but I could’ve made it SO much better) and some coleslaw (from a bag) in this, too. We layered it like so: tortilla, white sauce, coleslaw, guacamole, pico de gallo & fish. Well, that’s how I did it.

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$ breakdown:

  • $5 for 2 lbs of whitefish
  • $2 bag of coleslaw
  • $2 sour cream
  • <$1 tomato
  • <$1 red onion
  • $3 flour tortillas

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Chicken and Coleslaw

I used one of those bagged coleslaws.. very convenient.

Coleslaw recipe:

  • As much coleslaw that you need (I used about 1.5 cups for myself)
  • Sliced graped tomatoes
  • Cilantro
  • Slivered red onions
  • Almonds
  • Salt and pepper
  • Lemon juice
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Olive oil (for the record, I ALWAYS use extra virgin; it just takes too long to type!)
  • Rice vinegar
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Mayonnaise (about 1 tablespoon)

Mix everything together but the mayo; make sure everything is well mixed before you add the mayo!

Chicken recipe (use the same one from the chicken sandwich recipe):

Cooking instructions for chicken – I pan grilled it about 3 minutes on each side and then popped it into the oven to finish off. While it was cooling down, I squeezed on some fresh lemon juice.

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$ breakdown:

  • $2 for the bag of coleslaw
  • $1 for a bunch of cilantro
  • <$1 for a lemon
  • $2 for a package of grape tomatoes

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Chicken sandwich

Chicken marinade

  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Garlic salt
  • Red pepper flakes

Pan grilled the chicken with some mushrooms, toasted some really good wheat bread, mayo, lettuce, dijon mustard & a couple slices of cheddar cheese later..

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For the record, I would’ve used a different cheese but cheddar was decent.

$ breakdown:

Cheap. You should have all these ingredients (or something similar) in your kitchen.

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Catalan-style Seafood Stew

My friend and I had an AMAZING seafood stew when we were in Barcelona and I wanted to make something similar for him when he came to visit in NYC. This dish sounds fancy and all but it’s SO simple. I put it all in my slow cooker, too! Bonus points for convenience!

The thing that makes this a Catalan style stew is the picada. Picada is kind of like a pesto. It’s basically blended breadcrumbs, herbs & garlic. Some picada recipes will call for other things (like anchovies) and they’re mostly specific to the Catalan dish you are preparing. Anyway, picada brings everything together; it adds texture and flavor without adding so many calories (like creams). The MOST important thing is that you MUST add this in last into your dish. If you add it too early, your sauce will break (thanks for the tip Chef Julie!).

Picada recipe:

  • Garlic
  • Fresh parsley
  • Bread crumbs (I actually pan-toasted baguette slices in olive oil and sliced them in cubes)
  • Olive oil
  • Roasted hazelnuts
  • Almonds (they should be blanched but I just left them raw)

Place all the ingredients in a blender or a food processor (it might be best to first make your breadcrumbs). Add olive oil and some water until it’s like a thick paste.. like pesto! The great thing about this is that you can make it ahead of time and make a LOT of it. I think picada would be good as a spread, also..

Stew base recipe:

  • 1 can of diced tomatoes in its juices
  • 1 can of tomato sauce
  • Garlic, minced
  • Onions, diced
  • Shallots, diced
  • Fresh thyme (I put a couple sticks in)
  • Fresh parsley, diced
  • White wine
  • Seafood stock
  • 1 bell pepper (I used a green one), diced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, diced
  • Oregano
  • Paprika
  • Salt & pepper
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Olive oil & butter

Place everything in the slow cooker on low and let it cook for 8+ hours. You can make this as thick/thin as you’d like. I made it more soup-like because I added a lot of stock.

Seafood ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb of scallops
  • 1/2 lb of crawfish
  • 1/2 lb of shrimp (they should be headed & deveined but I left it as is because that’s how the Spaniards did it!)
  • 1/2 lb of mussels

Be sure to put these into the slow cooker on high 5-10 minutes before you serve dinner! Remember, it doesn’t take long for seafood to cook.. be wary of overcooking it! White fish is good in this stew as well (and we had it in our stew in Barcelona). And the picada!!! Put the picada in (to taste) before you put in the seafood.

I served this with sliced baguettes so we could dip it into the soup. It was pretty good but it was actually better a couple days later. OMG it was so much better.

This was definitely a lighter version of the original. I feel like they added some kind of cream into the broth and it tasted a lot more buttery. Additionally, I believe their stew was placed under the broiler for a little while. OH GOD it was so good. It was more stew-like in that it was a lot thicker. Does this mean I should revise my title to indicate that I had actually made a soup, not a stew?

Here’s a photo of the original, the inspiration for this meal (which cost ~20 euros):

The original!

$ breakdown:

  • $3 for the baguettes
  • $14 for ALL THE SEAFOOD!!! And it’s fresh, too! I bought a pound of each and only used half for the recipe. I love Chinatown!
  • <$3 for the canned goods
  • ~$1 for the bell pepper
  • ~$1 for the jalapeno pepper

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