November 11, 2016

Finally Friday: a fish fillet dinner

My absolute favorite fish dinner is a whole oven roasted fish, with the skin on, crispy on the outside, moist and flaky inside, flavored with a homemade tamarind sauce, served on a bed of lettuce with a side of cucumber, rolled in rice paper wraps, and dipped in a lemon fish sauce. We would have that at home and it was culinary heaven.

That is not this recipe. Sorry.

Someday it will be. But I tried making it once without a recipe or guidance ten years ago, it was a horrid failure, and I haven’t had the nerve to waste another fish trying it again.

This is a suitable substitute, JuggerBaby approved.

Ingredients

2-4 fish fillets, I like tilapia or catfish
onions
oil, salt, pepper

Baby bok choy
Sesame oil
Diced garlic

Steamed white rice

Directions

I usually steam the white rice first, earlier in the day, since we use a rice cooker and that’s just an easy win. If you need help making perfect white rice, let me know in the comments and I’ll do a little snippet on that later.

The fish and bok choy are ridiculously easy – the fish fillets are placed on a large sheet of foil, sprinkled with oil, salt, pepper, layered with sliced onions (sometimes tomatoes or lemons if I feel like it), and the foil is pinched shut like a little packet. This goes into the toaster oven at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. It’s my cheater version of Fish en Papillote.

Meanwhile, the bok choy is washed and cut up into smallish pieces. This is tossed into the saucepan after cooking the garlic for a minute, tossed to coat the bok choy with a bit of oil and garlic, and covered for a few minutes on medium-low heat. I add a little drizzle of sesame oil and toss again, then leave it on medium-low heat for a few more minutes. Since JuggerBaby seems to think that ze can’t chew up vegetables that aren’t a bit on the soft side, crunchy like I prefer them, I cook it a little longer than if I were just serving it to adults. Cooked this way, ze will happily munch on bok choy all through dinner.

Total time from prep to serving: 35 minutes.

October 28, 2016

Finally Friday: shepherd’s pie

I love food, and I love cooking for my family now so by somewhat popular vote, I’m sharing some of our family-approved meals here with you, on Fridays.

How I generally try to cook: 3-5 ingredients per dish; use fresh ingredients if possible; time from prep to table goal is 1 hour or less. I aim to serve a starch, veggies, and some protein. Sometimes dessert if I’m feeling incredibly motivated but that’s pretty rare.

It’s cool weather again so I’ve hauled out the Le Crueset for a stovetop to oven dinner. I’ve never made a classic shepherd’s pie, so don’t be surprised if this all looks a bit weird to you. The important thing is that the family will happily eat it.

Our little Le Crueset is one of my favorite kitchen staples. I wouldn’t have splurged on it but it was affordable some years back with a combination of coupons, gift cards, and not being picky about colors. Cherry seems to be the current unpopular color, and therefore cheaper, right now but I can never tell why certain colors are more or less popular than others. I can’t imagine picking white cookware, though, not the way I cook. I don’t need my cookware to advertise my cooking mishaps, thank you very much.

Ingredients:
1 lb of ground turkey
2 diced zucchini
1/2 diced tomato
1/2 cup frozen sweet corn
1/4 cup frozen shelled edamame
1 tbsp onion powder
1/2 tbsp garlic salt
2 potatoes and 2 cups of beef broth to make mashed potatoes topping

I started the mashed potatoes in a medium pot first. I boil my diced potatoes in broth for extra flavor so I can skip the butter and milk or cream. Nothing against them but I prefer to save those fat calories for something really delicious, like butter filled pastries. Mmmm…..

While that was bubbling away, I start to saute the ground turkey with the spices, experimenting with not using black pepper to see how that changes the flavor, over medium heat in the Le Crueset. While that’s cooking, I cut up my vegetables, deciding against adding carrots and onions because that’s ten more minutes of sous chefing on my feet. Once they’re ready, in go the vegetables, including the frozen ones, and everything is cooked through in about ten more minutes.

The heat gets shut off while the potatoes finish cooking through, and I wash all the dishes that were waiting in my spare five minutes. That done, the potatoes are ready to be smashed with a wooden spoon, added to the Le Crueset, and topped with a sprinkling of cheese. Ten minutes at 350 degrees in the oven finishes it off while I prep some broccoli to steam on the side – if JuggerBaby rejects some of the shepherd’s pie veggies, ze will nom on the steamed broccoli. If ze doesn’t, then the broccoli goes into zir lunch for tomorrow.

Total time from prep to serving: 1 hour.

:: What’s your favorite filling combination for a shepherd’s pie?

April 3, 2015

Just a little (link) love: eat your veggies, REALLY, edition

LinkLive

I was all misleading last time I did an Eat Your Veggies edition so I’m really going to share some veggie recipes this time 🙂

CAREER + MONEY THINGS

Female angel investors

Patreon is an interesting new business model (I love Kylee’s products so if you want to support her: have at it!)

FUN THINGS

Dog earns a home after 430 miles (and quarantine)

Star Wars in IttyBitty

Alan Tudyk is back, with ConMan

I would like this in a weekender size but I wouldn’t mind this one either. Or this, that would be good too.

This is silly: men describing menstrual pain

INTERESTING THINGS

I really need people to pay attention to the racism that exists today because when cops come under fire for supporting equality, there’s something wrong.

How Can You Be Mad at Someone Who’s Dying of Cancer?

When a generation declutters

You’d think we’d have figured out government email protocols by now

VEGGIES!

I am terrible at vegetable side dishes, so I always look for the easiest way out possible. Proportions for my veggie recipes are pretty flexible. I don’t tend to measure much, and I skimp on oils and butters to just the minimum necessary to get the job done.

Sugar snap peas

1 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 cups sugar snap peas, trimmed
1 pinch sea salt to taste
1 pinch freshly cracked black pepper
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
*optional: 1 teaspoon chili oil

Heat the sesame oil (and chili oil if desired) over medium-high heat. Toss the snap peas until they turn bright green and start to become tender, about 4 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper as they cook. Sprinkle peas with sesame seeds, and toss before serving.

Other variations: saute bacon (cut strips to approximately 2 inch pieces) first and toss the snap peas in the pan with the nearly cooked bacon. Because everything is better with bacon. Unless you don’t like bacon….

Green Beans

1 lb green beans, trimmed and cut to 1.5 inches
butter
minced garlic

Blanch green beans in boiling water, about 3-4 minutes, until they’re bright green. Toss in a small pat of butter, let it melt and coat all the green beans. Mix in as much minced garlic as you like.

November 26, 2014

In the Kitchen: Turkey Meatloaf

Ingredients

1-1/4 pound ground turkey
1 medium onion, chopped
1 zucchini squash, chopped fine
2 large garlic cloves, chopped fine
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper, to taste
1 egg
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

In a large bowl, mix all ingredients thoroughly, create 1 or 2 loaves. Prepare a loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray. Bake for 40 minutes.

An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read at least 160 degrees F (70 degrees C).

Thoughts

This was a halfhearted attempt to use up the ground turkey I’d defrosted for another recipe and sneak in some vegetables as well – surprisingly, it was really good!

Bonus points for being incredibly easy to toss together and cook. It just takes a while to actually cook.

 

October 31, 2014

In the Kitchen: Drop biscuit chicken pot pie

Chicken pot pie: Filling

Ingredients

Cooking spray
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
4 teaspoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1/2 pound green beans, trimmed and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups lowfat milk
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup peas, thawed if frozen
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves

Directions

Add 2 more teaspoons of oil to the same pan and heat it over a medium-high heat. Add the onions, carrots and celery and cook until the vegetables begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the green beans, garlic and remaining salt and pepper and cook for 2 minute more. Add the milk. Stir the flour into the broth until it is completely dissolved and add to the pan. Cook, stirring, until the mixture comes to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 2 minutes more. Return the chicken with its juices back to the pan. Add the peas and thyme and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Spoon the mixture into the baking dish or individual dishes.

Drop the batter in 6 mounds on top of the chicken mixture (1 mound on each individual dish, if using) spreading the batter out slightly.

Bake until filling is bubbling and the biscuit topping is golden brown, about 20 minutes.
Adapted from Food Network’s Ellie Krieger

Drop Biscuits

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup chilled butter, cut into small pieces
1 cup fat-free milk
Cooking spray

Directions

Preheat oven to 450º.
Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt in a bowl; cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add milk; stir just until moist.
Spoon the batter into 12 muffin cups coated with cooking spray. Bake at 450° for 12 minutes or until golden. Remove biscuits from pan immediately, and place on a wire rack.

Thoughts

I’ve finally found some decent uses for the Dutch oven and one of them is heaven on the stovetop.

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