Tag Archives: fast recipes

Kids in the Kitchen: Chicken Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Matt is our pasta lover. If he could have spaghetti every day of the week, he’d be a happy camper. (This is evidenced by his previous spaghetti carbonara, spaghetti and meatballs, and lasagna dishes in the kitchen.) So when Matt was browsing through a recipe application on our iPad, it didn’t surprise me to see that he’d chosen another pasta dish. This one was fairly straightforward. However, it did surprise me that my picky eater wanted sundried tomatoes and olives. I even asked him to double-check and make sure he understood what was in the pasta. He said it sounded good, so we went ahead with it.

Of course, we used gluten-free pasta (Tinkyada). It’s a good product – while it’s technically processed, the ingredients are essentially brown rice, rice bran, and water. Simple. I did like that this was really easy to throw together. Definitely a good weeknight dish. However, we weren’t 100% happy with the flavor. It was missing something – a sauce, perhaps? Matt did admit that he wished there was tomato sauce on it. Matt admitted that he thought somehow that the ingredients would make a sauce based on what he read. This means the teacher learned a lesson in the kitchen that day – to explain the dish better in the future, so there’s no confusion! Regardless, it was a dish that could be improved upon, should we try again.

(On a side note, I did realize just how much my body isn’t fond of a flood of carbohydrates like this. I’ve been eating mostly grain-free and paleo for a while, and a pasta dish caused me to feel lethargic and sleepy for a good 2 hours! Good thing for me, pasta is not on the regular rotation at our house anymore. For those of you that handle gluten-free pasta well, then have at it. For me, it’s a treat!)

Chicken Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomatoes

 8 oz gluten-free pasta

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch cubes

1/2 t paprika

Salt and pepper to taste

1 T grapeseed oil

8 oz sundried tomatoes

5 cloves of garlic, minced

1 small can sliced olives, drained

1/2 c pine nuts

Basil, for garnish

Heat a large pot of water to boiling. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain and set aside. Toss chicken cubes with paprika and salt and pepper. In a large skillet, heat grapeseed oil to medium-high heat. Add chicken and spread out into a single layer. Allow to brown for a minute, and then stir occasionally to brown on all sides. After chicken is nearly cooked through, add sundried tomatoes and garlic. Saute for another minute and add olives and pine nuts. Check seasoning and add salt and pepper if needed. Remove from heat and toss pasta and chicken mixture together. Serve garnished with basil.

Serves 4.

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Filed under Chicken, Turkey, and other Poultry, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Healthy Meals, Main Dishes, Pasta, Quick and Easy

Perfect Lamb Chops

I’ve kept you waiting far too long for this post. I apologize for that – because  these lamb chops are delicious. So delicious, in fact, that the reason for the delay is that it just seems as though when these are prepared, rarely do they sit around long enough for the camera to have a moment with them. The food blogger part of me just gives in, allowing the food lover part of me to say “Go ahead, just dig in.” And so we do. And we relish every last bite.

But I promised you before that I’d share, because I can’t keep good things like this to myself. That would be really mean. I don’t like being mean.

So here it is – a simple way to prepare lamb chops perfectly every time. It doesn’t take long, and it takes very few ingredients. Just my kind of perfect.

These chops pair well with a wide variety of things. I’m partial to sweet potatoes, both baked and mashed (with a bit of fresh rosemary folded in). I also love a good risotto. This time around, I made a lighter, fresher risotto recipe I found at What’s For Lunch, Honey that bursts with lemon and fresh herbs (I used parsley, rosemary, lemon thyme, and sage), simply omitting the dairy and substituting olive oil. Divine – and a wonderful way to relax and escape from the busyness of life, even if only for a moment.

I won’t keep you waiting any longer for the chops.

Perfect Lamb Chops

1 – 1 1/2 lb lamb chops, bone-in (any variety)

Salt and pepper to taste

1 t chopped fresh herbs (I used lemon thyme, but rosemary and sage also work well)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Heat a large, oven-proof heavy skillet (I use my Lodge cast iron skillet - probably the most useful tool in my kitchen.) to medium-high heat. You can add a touch of oil of you feel it needs it – my skillet doesn’t. Pat the chops dry with paper towels and season with salt, pepper, and chopped herbs, pressing into the meat. When the skillet is hot, add the chops. Allow to sear, undisturbed, for about 2 minutes, or until browned. Flip to the other side, and sear for a minute, and then place skillet with the chops into the oven. Bake for 5-6 minutes, depending on the thickness of your chops for medium rare. (Mine were nearly an inch thick) Remove from oven and remove chops from pan. Allow to rest for 3-4 minutes. Serve.

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Filed under Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Healthy Meals, Lamb, Main Dishes, Quick and Easy

Moist and Herb-y Turkey Burgers

Lately, we have been focusing on lighter, healthier fare. Why? Well, why not? For one, the weather (The forecasted high temperature today is 106 degrees!) begs us to leave the oven off and keep the kitchen cool. The sooner I can turn off the stove (if I turn it on at all) and get dinner on the table, the less the air conditioning has to work. In addition, we would like to not have to work so hard at keeping our waistlines from expanding. Salads are great, but we can not live by salad alone. This is where burgers come in.

But in keeping with the lighter, healthier fare, (and because ground turkey was on sale) I opted for turkey burgers. Now, I have made many a burger in my lifetime. Turkey burgers, however? I’m not as experienced. I was worried that my burger would end up dry and bland. I knew I wanted to throw in a lot of herbs to boost the flavor without added fat (and because the garden is overflowing right now with herbs!). As for the remedy to a dry patty, I turned to Amy at Simply Sugar and Gluten Free. Amy participated in a burger contest last year (she was a finalist!), so I knew she was a great source of information. I found a turkey burger recipe on her site, and found the secret – mushrooms. I had mushrooms in the fridge, and so I took a cue from her and threw them in the food processor. In addition, I remembered that I’ve used almond flour as a bread crumb replacement in meatballs and meatloaf in the past, and it always boosted the moisture when compared to other “breadcrumbs”. I played with the flavors a bit, and hoped my herb-y turkey burgers would come out well.

The result? These burgers are on the regular meal rotation! The husband raved about them – and when you can get my husband to enjoy turkey burgers, and not simply rate them as “okay, for turkey burgers” (and secretly wish they were beef), then it’s a recipe worth repeating. They were moist, with just the right amount of fresh herbs, and plenty of flavor from the cumin and dijon mustard. I even splurged and enjoyed mine on a Kinnikinnick bun. (Yes, Tasty Eats At Home sometimes buys pre-made buns. See reasons to keep kitchen cool above.) It was mighty tasty.

Herbed Turkey Burgers

About 6 oz mushrooms, processed until finely chopped in food processor (about 1/4 c)

1 lb ground turkey

1/2 c almond meal/flour

1 egg

1 T flaxseed meal

1 T chopped fresh parsley

2 sage leaves, chopped

1/2 t chopped fresh thyme (I used lemon thyme)

1/2 t chopped fresh rosemary

1 t dijon mustard

1/2 t ground cumin

2-3 T olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

In a large bowl, gently mix the mushrooms, ground turkey, and the rest of the ingredients together. (I do this with my hands.) Heat a skillet to medium heat and add a bit of the olive oil. Pinch a small, marble-sized ball of the burger mixture and place it in the skillet. Brown on each side until cooked through, and taste. Adjust seasonings to the rest of the mixture as needed. (This is a great way to ensure you don’t make a bunch of bland patties – I do this for meatballs and meatloaf as well.) Form into 4 patties.

Add additional oil to the skillet. (Alternatively, you can use a grill pan or even your grill outdoors. If grilling outdoors, you might opt for a grilling basket for burgers, as these burgers are more fragile than beef burgers and more apt to fall apart. You might also try freezing them for 30 minutes before grilling to keep them together.) Place the skillet and cook for about 5 minutes per side, until browned. Check the internal temperature of the burgers, and cook until the center reaches 165 degrees F. (You might choose to put a lid over the skillet and turn the temperature down to allow the burgers to cook through.) Remove and allow to rest for 5 minutes.

Place on a gluten-free hamburger bun (or go bunless!) and top with desired condiments and toppings. I opted for dijon mustard, soy-free mayonnaise, lettuce, onion, and tomato. If you opted to go bunless, then this patty would taste delicious on top of field greens and tomatoes, with a bit of balsamic vinaigrette or honey mustard dressing.

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Filed under Budget-Friendly, Chicken, Turkey, and other Poultry, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Healthy Meals, Main Dishes, Quick and Easy

Stir-Fried Brown Rice with Sirloin and Broccoli

Some up-front honesty before we get started: I debated whether to post this. Not because it wasn’t delicious – it most certainly was. No doubt about that. I just felt that the photo doesn’t do the dish justice. This is a dish that is bursting with flavor, demanded that I take seconds, and was indeed greater than the sum of its parts. In my opinion, this photo just didn’t convey those attributes enough. Unfortunately, it was also so well-enjoyed that by the time I downloaded the photos from my camera and came upon this realization, the opportunity to retake the pictures was long gone. All that remained were a few stray rice grains in the pan. Has this ever happened to you?

After some serious consideration, I decided to go forward with it. After all, why should I make you wait until next time (and there will be a next time!)? You should be able to enjoy a dish like this today. I’m a firm believer in immediate gratification when it comes to food.

The inspiration for this recipe came from the latest edition of Food and Wine magazine, amid other healthy, delicious recipes. (Yes, Food and Wine published a lot of healthy recipes this month! I was pretty darned excited, if I do say so.) Su-Mei Yu was the creator of a delectable Stir-Fried Red Rice with Sliced Sirloin Steak and Peas dish. Unfortunately, I didn’t have red rice on hand, and I knew it would require a bit of searching to locate. While I fully intend on tracking down some red rice, just to try it out, I wanted to make this dish now. (You know, that while immediate gratification thing.) So I substituted short-grain brown rice, changed up the vegetables a bit, and basically took a large number of liberties to suit my needs. Not sure that in the end, I’m actually following the original recipe at all, but regardless, I was definitely inspired.

The verdict? As you saw in the first paragraph, this was a hit. Who says healthy has to be bland or boring? I loved the slight heat the chile oil gave, loved the brightness of the cilantro and lime, and practically licked my plate clean. Even the husband was pleasantly surprised. (He’s not much for Asian cuisine, especially when it comes to a bunch of vegetables stir-fried together.) This recipe will definitely appear on the Tasty Eats menu again in the future.

Stir-Fried Brown Rice with Sirloin and Broccoli, adapted from Su-Mei Yu – Food and Wine magazine

1 large head broccoli, cut into florets

2 T olive oil (not extra-virgin)

8 oz sirloin steak, sliced thinly into strips

Salt and pepper

½ large sweet onion, diced

1 ½ T grated fresh ginger

4 cloves garlic, minced

3 carrots, peeled and julienned

1 c frozen peas, thawed

2 c short-grain brown rice, cooked (either follow your rice cooker’s instructions, or follow Nicole’s super-cool instructions for perfect brown rice) and cooled to room temperature

2 T gluten-free soy sauce (La Choy and Tan-J sell gluten-free varieties)

1 T fish sauce

1 t sesame oil

½ t chile oil (optional – can be found in the Asian section of most supermarkets)

½ c chopped cilantro

1 lime, sliced into wedges

Fill a medium saucepan with enough water to cover the broccoli, and bring to a boil. Prepare a bowl with ice water and set aside. When water is boiling, add broccoli and submerge. Boil for 1 minute and drain, and quickly dunk broccoli into ice water to stop cooking. When cool, drain broccoli and set aside.

In a skillet or wok, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil at medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the steak strips, season with a bit of salt and pepper, and spread out into a single layer. Brown for about 1 minute. Remove and set aside.

Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the skillet. Add the onion and sauté for about 3-4 minutes or until beginning to soften. Add the garlic, ginger, and carrots and sauté for another minute or two. Add the broccoli, peas, and rice and stir. Let sit untouched for about a minute, until you hear everything sizzle. Add the soy sauce and fish sauce and stir. Add the steak, sesame oil, and chile oil and stir again. Remove from heat and serve garnished with cilantro and lime wedges.

Serves 4.

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Filed under Budget-Friendly, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Healthy Meals, Main Dishes, Quick and Easy, Rice

Daring Cooks: Pork Satay

This month’s Daring Cooks challenge was chosen by Cuppy of Cuppylicious. As a huge fan of Thai-inspired flavors, I was excited about this challenge. I’ve made satay before (using chicken thighs), but it was years ago. When this challenge was announced, I wondered to myself why it had been so long since satay made it on the menu. After all, marinated meat on a stick? Who can say no to that? (okay, well maybe vegetarians would, but Cuppy was generous enough to suggest tofu or veggie satay as an alternative.) Needless to say, we let our carnivorous nature take over on this occasion.

I opted to use a pork tenderloin for this dish. I don’t use pork nearly often enough. It’s relatively inexpensive, and the tenderloins are, well, tender, making for a quick weeknight meal option. In fact, I did just that – prepared the pork marinade one weeknight, and we enjoyed pork satay the following weeknight for dinner. It comes together fairly quickly. I did “cheat” and use the broiler instead of the grill. My excuse? It was about 20 degrees outside that evening and quite windy. For a Texan, that’s way too cold to stand out in front of the grill! The broiler did a mighty fine job, though, and we didn’t miss the grill one bit.

The verdict? Tasty enough for a party! Again, meat on a stick always goes over well, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to have a flavorful marinade and delightful dipping sauces! If I were to make this again, I might put slightly less cumin in my marinade (my ground cumin is pretty potent), but otherwise, it was wonderful! A big thanks to Cuppy for sharing this recipe – it’s definitely going to become a repeat in our household!

Pork Satay with Peanut and Pepper Dipping Sauce, adapted from 1000 Recipes by Martha Day

For the pork:

1/2 small onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 T ginger, chopped

2 T lemon juice

1 T gluten-free soy sauce

1 t ground coriander

1 t ground cumin

1/2 t ground turmeric

2 T vegetable oil

1 lb pork tenderloin, cut into strips (about 1 inch wide, 4-5 inches long)

Combine first nine ingredients in food processor, and pulse until well-chopped and combined. Place marinade and pork tenderloin pieces in a large ziploc bag, tossing pork to ensure each piece is coated. Place in refrigerator and marinate overnight.

Soak wooden skewers for 30 minutes in water before using. Preheat grill or broiler. Place pork on skewers. Broil or grill until meat just begins to char, about 6-8 minutes. Flip and grill or broil other side until cooked through, another 6 minutes or so. Serve with dipping sauces.

For the peanut sauce:

3/4 c coconut milk

4 T peanut butter

1 T lemon juice

1 T gluten-free soy sauce

1/2 t fish sauce

1 t agave nectar

1/2 t ground cumin

1/2 t ground coriander

1/2 t crushed red pepper

Mix dry ingredients in a small bowl. Add soy sauce and lemon, mix well. Place a small saucepan over low heat. Add coconut milk, peanut butter, and soy sauce mixture. Mix well, and warm for 3-5 minutes, stirring often. Serve warm with pork.

For the pepper sauce:

4 T gluten-free soy sauce

1 T lemon juice

1 t agave nectar

1/2 t crushed red pepper

Mix well. Serve chilled or at room temperature with pork.

Don’t forget! If you haven’t entered yet for a chance to win some Xagave nectar and the Where Delicious Meets Nutritious cookbook, there’s still time! Check out the giveaway here!

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Filed under Appetizers, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Main Dishes, Pork, Quick and Easy