Chicken Katsu Curry

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It has been unusually rainy and cold here in San Diego this winter.  Don’t get me wrong, we need the rain and I’ve welcomed the change in temperatures that I miss since moving from the east coast, but it still leaves me craving warm and cozy meals.  Soups usually fit the bill, but I was looking for something different.  Enter this rich and creamy curry, coupled with a crispy chicken breast – it really hit the spot!

Chicken Katsu Curry
(makes 2-3 servings)

For the curry:
1 tbs olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2-3 medium sized potatoes, diced into 2 inch cubes
1 red pepper, cut into 3 inch long sticks
3 carrots, cut into 1/2 inch slices
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
4 tbs curry (I use golden curry sauce mix)
3 cups rice, cooked

For the chicken:
2 chicken breasts
1 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs
1 egg
1/4 cup milk
salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup vegetable oil

In a large skillet, under medium heat, saute garlic and peppers in olive oil for approximately 3 minutes.  Lower heat to low, add potatoes, carrots, and chicken stock. Continue to cook until the mix simmers, then add curry.  Mix well to ensure curry is dissolved or well mixed. Continue to cook until potatoes and carrots are soft, about 15 minutes. Add chicken stock or curry to thin or thicken the consistency, respectively, to your liking.

While curry is cooking, combine egg, milk, a dash of salt and pepper, and any seasonings you prefer (I like using adobo). Pound chicken breast to tenderize it, dip in egg mixture, followed by panko, and place into vegetable oil under medium-high heat.  Cook chicken until browned, approximately 4 minutes, then flip and repeat.

Serve curry and chicken over rice.

food on,
-Shirley

 

 

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baba ganoush

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When you’re a kid and your mom tells you that she’s making eggplant for dinner, you’re less than excited.  I think my common responses were “no, thank you, mom” or “can I have some fettuccine Alfredo instead?”  But as you’ve seen by my previous recipes, like this one for eggplant parm, I’ve grown to love eggplant.  Not only is it so versatile, it’s an incredibly filling vegetable.  I’ll never pass up some filet mignon, but some days, a healthy vegetarian meal is all you need.

Shirley and I grew up eating homemade hummus, tahini, and baba ganoush at home, and I’ve been making it in my own home ever since.  If you’re unfamiliar, baba ganoush is a popular Mediterranean side dish consisting of cooked eggplant and spices.  It is incredibly easy to make, so flavorful, and a great side dish if you’re sick of yet another day of chips and dip!

Baba Ganoush
(Makes 3 cups)

2 medium eggplants
5 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 lemon, juiced
2 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Bake the eggplants in a 375 F oven until very soft, about 30 minutes.  Allow the eggplant to cool, and then peel completely.

In an 8-cup food processor, combine the eggplant, garlic, lemon juice, and mayonnaise.  Process until the mixture is uniform.  Drizzle in the olive oil and process, being careful not to over-process.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve as a side dish with vegetables, crackers, or pita!

– food on,
Sharon

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creamy spinach

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For the longest time, I didn’t have an immersion blender in my new apartment.  And when you have such a love for creamy spinach like I do, that’s a real issue.  So as soon as my birthday rolled around, and the “what do you want for your birthday?” talks began, it was only logical for this young lady to request a purple immersion blender.

What’s the big deal about some creamy spinach, you ask?!

Well, this creamy spinach is only the most delicious side dish you could ever have.  Shirley and I grew up with our mom making this dish for us.  I always loved that it felt like a meal in itself.  It wasn’t just a piece of broccoli or asparagus that I got sick of after two pieces.  Heck, I even remember standing over the stovetop with a spoon sneaking bite after bite while my mom yelled at me to move!

This is an easy dish that you will not regret!  Enjoy!

Creamy Spinach
(Makes 6 servings)

2 tbsp flour
2 tbsp salted butter
1/2 cup vegetable stock
1/2 cup 2% milk (may be substituted with another 1/2 cup of vegetable stock)
1/2 tsp salt
10 oz frozen chopped spinach (or about 24 oz fresh spinach)
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup grated cheese (Gruyere, Fontina, or Cheddar)
1/8 tsp grated nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste

In a small pan, melt the butter and stir in the flour until blended in.  Continue to stir on low heat until the mixture is light yellow.  Add the stock, 1/2 tsp salt, and milk in a few batches, stirring after each addition, until a uniform texture is reached.  Keep adding liquid to form a smooth and thick paste.  Remove from heat.

In a large pan, sauté the chopped onion in olive oil until translucent.  Add the spinach and reduce heat.  Let cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the sauce to the spinach and stir well.  With an immersion blender, process the mixture until smooth.  Add the grated cheese and stir well.  Lastly, add the salt, pepper, and grated nutmeg to taste.

– food on,
Sharon

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roasted garlic cauliflower

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I think the wintry temperatures have officially hit south jersey.  The nights have been filled with hot showers, cuddling, blankets, reading, hot tea, and lana del rey playing throughout the house.  The short days don’t do much to help my motivation.  As a result, we’ve been relying on quick, simple, and filling dishes to get us through these first few weeks.  When 50 degrees feels like the coldest thing ever.  I know that sounds ridiculous.  Sharon from 3 months from now is currently laughing out loud at present Sharon.

I made this side dish last week on one of those cold nights.  It’s a easy and healthy dish.  Cauliflower has very high amounts of both vitamin c and vitamin k, and garlic is rich in antioxidants, so your taste buds AND body will be happy.  Win-Win.

So cuddle up with your loved ones on these chilly nights, and eat these cauliflower nuggets like you’re an extra on those hidden valley commercials.

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Roasted Garlic Cauliflower
(Serves 3-4)

1 head cauliflower, washed and cut into small florets
1/3 cup olive oil
4 heads of garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425 F.

In a large bowl, toss the cauliflower florets, oil, garlic, salt, and pepper.  Ensure that all the florets are evenly coated.

On a sheet pan, spread the florets evenly through the pan.  Bake for 15 minutes, flip the florets, and bake for 15 minutes more.  Serve warm.

– food on,
Sharon

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ground beef and rice stuffed peppers

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I don’t see recipes for stuffed peppers very often in cookbooks and on the internet.  And to be honest, I’m not always in the mood for stuffed peppers.  One little stuffed pepper sure does pack a punch.  It can be heavy.  But it’s a delicious dish – full of flavor, fits all the food groups, and look at that picture – it’s a beautiful dish to serve at a dinner party.

Like most dishes Shirley and I share on here, this dish can be very versatile.  Switch the ground beef for ground turkey (a big favorite at our house!), the red peppers for green and yellow peppers (or all 3 for a nice visual), the white rice for brown rice, and mix and match whatever veggies you have on hand, like carrots, celery, and kidney beans.

Ground Beef and Rice Stuffed Peppers
(Serves 4)

4 large bell peppers, tops removed and seeds removed (make sure they are sturdy and can stand on their own)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
1 can red kidney beans, drained
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound lean ground beef
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 cup cooked white rice
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 375 F.  Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Once boiling, add the peppers and cook until tender, but still sturdy, about 6 to 7 minutes.  Remove the peppers from the water and invert them on a baking dish to drain.

To make the filling, add the olive oil to a large frying pan over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 4 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook 3 additional minutes, making sure the garlic does not burn.  Add the beef, the salt, and chili powder and cook the meat until everything is fully cooked and no longer pink, about 7 minutes.  Add the cooked rice and cook five minutes longer.  Stir in 1/2 cup of the mozzarella cheese.

Fill the peppers with the meat mixture.  On top, sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese.  Bake until the cheese is melted, about 3-5 minutes.

– food on,
Sharon

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grilled chicken with broccoli and kale cream sauce

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For the most part, I eat healthy and actually like the taste of vegetables, whole grains, and fruits.  But I have a confession.  Every once in a while, I run into a vegetable I can’t stand.  And no matter how I cook it, it still tastes just like you’d expect a healthy veggie to taste – bland and gross.  Brussels sprouts are like that. I HATED them until I was about 19 (it didn’t help that my mom LOVES them, and I think she enjoyed torturing Sharon and I by cooking them. All. the.time.).  Even now, I only eat them if they are cooked with pine nuts and garlic.  Kale is another veggie like this, except I think this recipe changed that.  The cheese and the bacon give the kale such a rich flavor.  Definitely will be making kale this way again!

I made zucchini potato latkes as a side to this dish.  See, latkes are versatile.  I loved the flavor the zucchini added to these!

Grilled Chicken with Kale and Bacon Cream Sauce
(Serves 2)

2 chicken breasts
5-6 leaves kales, cut into 1 inch strips
3-4 strips of bacon, cut to 1 inch strips
½ cup water or chicken stock
2-3 laughing cow light cheese wedges
¼ cup cheddar cheese

Butterfly the chicken breasts and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Saute in a pan, flipping over once, until cooked.  Remove chicken from pan.  Place kale in pan, and add about half the water.  Bring the water to a boil and sauté/steam the kale.  In a separate pan, cook the bacon.  Add the cheese wedges and the cheddar cheese to the kale, along with the rest of the water.  Mix together until the cheese melts creating a cream sauce.  Add the bacon to the pan.    Serve the sauce over the chicken.

orzo with roasted asparagus and chicken sausage

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Welcome to a new week with us!  What a long day it has been.  And when I came home all tired tonight, I wanted to make something simple and healthy.  I figured it was the perfect day to make this really simple weeknight meal that is very much a staple in our household.  Everything is roasted in the oven, other than the pasta.

I’m a big fan of roasting vegetables, and asparagus and white onions have been my favorite thus far.  They were therefore the inspiration for this recipe.  Add some fun little pasta, a little protein, and freshly grated parmesan cheese, and you’ve got yourself a quick meal that hits the spot.

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Orzo with Roasted Asparagus and Chicken Sausage
(Serves 2-3)

1 bunch of asparagus (about 1 pound), tough ends removed
1 small onion, diced
4 links Roasted Garlic Chicken Sausage
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
12 ounces orzo
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 450 F.

Chop the asparagus into 1-inch strips.  Toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and place them on a baking sheet.  Repeat with the diced onion.

Slice the chicken sausage into 1/4-inch pieces, and place on the baking sheet alongside the asparagus and onion.  Drizzle the chicken sausage with more olive oil.  Roast until tender, about 10-15 minutes, being sure to toss the vegetables and turn the sausage midway.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Add 1 tablespoon of salt, and cook the pasta according to the directions on the box.  Reserve 1 1/2 cups of the cooking water, and drain the pasta.  Whisk together the butter, Parmesan cheese, and the reserved pasta water.  Return the pasta to the pot, and toss with the butter-cheese mixture, asparagus, and chicken sausage.  Serve with additional Parmesan cheese.

– food on,
Sharon

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Q for U: What is your quick go-to weeknight meal?