Saturday, January 29, 2011

Lynn's Weeknight Indian Cuisine (fast and easy!)

Alright people, it's time for the truth: we don't always have time to make things from scratch...we are law students for Pete's sake!  So, here I am typing a post on a cooking blog about making something that is...wait for it...basically already made for you.  Sure, you can make these amazing dishes from scratch (I'll tell you how later) but finding the time to do that may be harder than actually making something like this from scratch!  So without further ado, here is Lynn's Weeknight Indian Cuisine that involves practically no work (which she also makes on lazy Saturdays...okay, and Sundays too).

Here's what you'll need:

  • 2 fresh chicken breasts (I get mine at Fresh Market because it is a great deal for such good meat!)
  • Whipping cream (1/4 cup) *may substitute Greek yogurt if you prefer
  • Basmati Rice
  • 1 packet of Sukhi's Tikka Masala Curry Sauce
  • 1 box Kitchens of India Black Gram Lentils Curry (Dal Bukhara)
  • 1 box Kitchens of India Chick Peas Curry (Pindi Chana)
  • 1 piece of Naan (or whole wheat pita bread if you would like a slightly different taste--we've been using this lately and it's quite tasty--we toast it)
  • 1 box Sukhi's frozen samosas

What to do: 
So the hardest part of this all, or really the only slightly challenging thing (lol), is figuring out timing.  So here is how I do it:
(1) Pre-soak the rice for 20 minutes.  (1 and 1/2 cups of water for 1 cup of Basmati Rice).
(2) Once the rice has soaked, turn the stove on medium-high until the rice boils.
(3) While rice is heating to a boil, cut the chicken breasts into large chunks and put the Samosas in the oven according to the package instructions (350 I believe, for 20-25 minutes).
(4) Once the rice starts to boil, cover the pot with a lid and reduce heat to low.
(5) While the rice is simmering on low and samosas are cooking, place chicken pieces into the saucepan with the Sukhi's sauce packet and 3/4 cup water.   Begin cooking over medium-high heat.  Once the chicken cooks, mix in 1/4 cup of whipping cream.  Once it boils, I reduce the heat to low until everything else is ready.
chicken before adding whipping cream
after adding whipping cream
(6) Once rice has simmered for 15 minutes, remove it from heat for 5-10 minutes.  During this time, you can heat the naan in the oven or toast the pita bread.  During this time is also when you cook the pindi chana and lentils (can be made stovetop or in the microwave--just follow package instructions).  All should finish around the same time.

(7) Enjoy!!

Want to make these from scratch?  Be my guest!  Here are links to some recipes for the food above:
Chicken Tikka Masala
Chana Masala  (this one is from of my faves!  I follow this blog religiously)
Dal Bukhara
The Samosas are more difficult--first you have to make the filling and then you make the pastry

Naan and Basmati rice are still store bought--I'm sure there are from scratch recipes for naan but I don't have one

Turkey Avocado Melt with Easy Spicy Mayo!

Here is another easy sandwich I put together.   The spicy mayo was just my own improvisation.  Had I planned this sandwich ahead of time I would have attempted an authentic chipotle mayo.  But what i whipped up was still good for those days you don't feel like going out for groceries.

- Bread
- Turkey
- Avocado
- Cheese (I used a mexican blend)
- Extra virgin olive oil

Spicy Mayo:
- Mayonnaise
- cayenne pepper
- all purpose seasoning
- Lime

Preheat oven (350 will do).  Toast the bread on the skillet with some extra virgin olive oil (or butter if you prefer).  When you flip the bread go ahead and slather on some of that spicy mayo you pre-made.  While other side is toasting start to build your sandwhich.  Add the turkey and then topped with a big slice of avocado.  Next sprinkle with cheese and then transfer into oven to melt.  Easy peazy and oh so yummy!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Meatball Sandwiches and Sweet Potato Fries

Ok, this post may be a bit laughable because it's neither inventive nor labor intensive.. pretty much heating up and assembling. BUT, it's delicious so thought i'd share anyway.

You will need:
- Hamburger buns (or hoagies would be even better)
- Meatballs in sauce (try lynn's recipe from another post, i used trader joe's turkey meatballs)
- Lettuce
- Sweet potatoes (Trader joes sells them pre-cut and cleaned!!!)
- seasoning to your liking (salt, pepper, italian herbs)
- Mozzarella cheese (or what you prefer)

All you do is heat them all up... First season the Sweet potato fries with extra virgin olive oil, and seasonings that you prefer. Sweet Potatoes go in oven at 400 until crisp (about 15 min on each side). Add cheese if you like to melt on top at the end.   Don't forget to lightly toast the sandwich bread before putting on the meatballs, sauce, cheese, and lettuce.  When sweet potatoes are finishing up, put the assembled sandwich in the oven to warm up and let the flavors all meld together.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Beth's Baked Brie

Every Christmas and Thanksgiving, my Aunt Beth would make this Baked Brie and everyone would hover around it until it was all gone.  Then it kind of disappeared for awhile until this Christmas... when it made an amazing comeback.  So when the time came for me to bring something to our girls poker night, I knew exactly what I wanted to bring.  My Aunt Beth always makes this with a round block of brie in a pie dish, unfortunately, Harris Teeter only had triangle pieces so I had to be creative.  I used 3 triangle blocks and it turned out to be just as delicious as a round block!  So without further ado...

Three triangles of brie
Approximately 1/4 cup of light brown sugar 
Handful of slivered almonds

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees
Place brie in pie dish
Sprinkle brown sugar over brie, basically covering completely
Distribute slivered almonds on top for decoration (they look pretty when baked and add a little extra flavor)
Cook for approximately 20-25 minutes until the cheese bubbles and the center looks soft

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Steak Sandwich

Alright meat-lovers, here you go, a delicious, simple steak sandwich, complements of SmittenKitchen.

Makes 2 very big sandwiches

1 (12-ounce) 1-inch thick New York strip boneless beef top loin steak (I used 2 sirloin filets instead)
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil
2 yellow onions, sliced in rings
Mustard Mayo, recipe follows
2 mini focaccia buns, sliced in 1/2 (I used a sliced ciabatta loaf)--This is something I would probably was a bit to "bready" for Matt and my taste.  I would probably switch to a good wheat loaf or just something that doesn't have as much of an interior.
1/2 cup baby arugula

Season the steak with salt and pepper on each side. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a medium-sized pan over high heat until it’s steaming, then sear each side of the steak for 1 minute. Reduce the heat to low and cook the steak for about 7 to 10 minutes, turning once. Remove from pan and put on a plate, cover tightly with foil, and set aside for 10 minutes. 
Slice the steak into strips.
Using the same saute pan while steak sits aside on foil-covered plate, heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and saute for about 10 minutes, until the onions are brown and caramelized, stirring occasionally.

To make the sandwiches, spread a tablespoon of Mustard Mayo on the bottom half of the bread. Place a layer the of steak strips on top of the mayo, and top with the onion rings. Place the baby arugula on top piece of bread, and fold over to make sandwich.  ENJOY!
Mustard Mayo
1/3 cup good mayonnaise  (I use olive oil based Mayo because it is a bit better for you than real Mayo)
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
2 tablespoons sour cream
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

Whisk the ingredients together in a bowl. Serve at room temperature.

I served this with a baked potato and a homemade caesar salad that ended up not tasting to "caesar-like" so I won't bother giving you all the recipe...but the pictures are pretty!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Pear and Arugula Pizza

This is a quick and easy dish whether cooking for a crowd or just yourself!


- Pizza dough (whole wheat from Trader Joes)
- Pear
- Goat Cheese (with herbs)
- Arugula
- Mozzarella (shredded low-fat skim)
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Balsamic vinegar
(amounts vary depending on size of pizza)


Preheat oven to 375.

Let dough and goat cheese sit at room temperature for 20 minutes.

Thinly slice the pear(s).  The thinner the slices the better, but that all depends on your knife skills.

Roll out dough, use flour on surface so doesnt stick. If making it for yourself you will only need half the dough in the package.  Spray appropriate size pan with nonstick spray.  Roll out dough and place into a pan, preferably one with sides (mine was square).  Pat the dough on the pan with your hands, creating a crust by pushing about an inch up on each side of the pan.

Sprinkle the dough with a very light layer of extra virgin olive oil.  Place an even layer of goat cheese on the dough. For a personal pizza you should only need about 3 oz.  Next do a layer of pear.  Use your own judgment for how much to use.  Next is a layer of mozzarella.  For a personal pan you should only need about 3/4 a cup.  Next is a layer of arugula.  Use more arugula than you think necessary, as it will shrink significantly inthe oven.  Finally sprinkle with a bit of the extra virgin olive oil.
Let bake in oven for about 20-25 minutes or until dough is golden brown and cheese is melted.  Remove from oven and transfer to plate or cutting board.

When ready to serve, top with a bit of balsamic.