Vegetable Coconut Red Curry Soup

If you’ve met us you know that we LOVE sushi. So it was imperative to find a restaurant near our new home. Well, folks we found one. They don’t stop at just sushi…they have Thai, Chinese, Japanese … pretty much anything you’d ever want. We stopped by one day and I was feeling a little under the weather and the waitress suggested this soup rather than my normal sushi. I followed her lead and my life hasn’t been the same since. It was TO.DIE.FOR. It’s creamy, spicy, sweet, comforting, warm, and totally satisfying. I had to recreate this masterpiece at home. I found this recipe and used it as a starting point. Today, I give you my recipe for red curry soup.

Ingredients

  • 2 tbs. canola oil
  • 2 tsp. minced garlic
  • ¼  cup red curry paste
  • 1 tbs. brown sugar
  • 2 cans light coconut milk
  • 2 ½  cups organic vegetable broth
  • ¼  cup fresh lime or lemon juice
  • ¼  cup thinly sliced peeled fresh ginger (or 1 tbs. powdered ginger)
  • 2 tbs. soy sauce
  • ½ can of cream of mushroom
  • 2 bell peppers
  • 1 entire onion
  • 1 small package of mushrooms
  • Thai basil (If you’ve never had it go to the store and get some immediately)
  • NOTE: if you want to spice it up add 2 tbs. of red pepper flakes
  • NOTE: You can also add protein to this party by adding chicken, tofu, or seafood. Just make sure you cook the meat appropriately.

Directions

  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat
  2. Add garlic to pan and sauté for 30 seconds or until lightly browned
  3. Add curry paste and sauté for 1 minute, stirring constantly
  4. Add brown sugar and cook 1 minute
  5. Stir in coconut milk, broth, juice, ginger, basil, cream of mushroom, red pepper flakes (optional) and soy sauce. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 1 hour (NOTE: you only really have to simmer for 30 min. but the longer you simmer the more robust the taste will become.)
  6. Add onions and green peppers and cook for 6 minutes
  7. Add mushrooms to pan and cook 4 minutes

Photo Credit

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Slow Cooker Chicken Chili

Who doesn’t like a nice warm bowl of chili in the winter? Better yet, slow cooker chili. To me that means little effort and big flavor. I may be one of the few who isn’t fond of beef chili swimming in red sauce. I was looking for a “Different” Chili to make and this recipe caught my attention because it has sweet potato in it. Wha?  I began to read the rest of the ingredients and it’s a pretty solid chili. It has all the standard chili mandatory adjectives including: spicy, meaty, beanie and cheesy. Can I get an Amen!? The best part, in my opinion, was the addition of sweet potato and chicken thighs. The sweet potato holds its shape in the chili. However, becomes butter when you bite into it….drool. Finally, the chicken thighs add A LOT of flavor, way more than breasts. I’ve gotta find a chili cook-off because this baby could bring home the gold.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds chicken thighs
  • 3 tbs. chili powder, plus 2 tsp.
  • 1 (15 oz) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15 oz) can white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 (28 oz) cans diced fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 medium sweet potato (about 10 oz), peeled and shredded
  • 1 (15 oz) can low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 chipotle chilies in adobo sauce with seeds, chopped
  • 2 tbs. soy sauce
  • 1 tbs. kosher salt
  • 1 tbs. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • Pinch ground cloves
  • ½ to ¾ cup lager-style beer, optional
  • Toppings: shredded cheddar, chopped scallions, and chopped jalapenos

Directions

  1. Put the chicken into the slow cooker.
  2. Add 3 tablespoons of the chili powder and all the rest of the ingredients, except the beer.
  3. Stir everything together, cover, and cook on LOW for 6 to 8 hours.
  4. Just before serving, stir in the remaining 2 teaspoons of chili powder, the beer.
  5. Divide the chili among warm bowls. Serve with the topping of your choice.

(NOTE: This makes A LOT of chili…we have a large slow cooker and it was filled to the brim. Feel free to half this recipe if it seems it wont fit in your slow cooker.)

Mango Chicken Curry

We have successfully created and completely consumed our second Indian dish! Yes, we may have eaten it all…in one sitting. Whoops! Well, that means you know this recipe is gunna be good right?! We love our Chicken Tikka Masala recipe. However, we wanted to create an Indian dish that’ sweeter and little less spicy. We found this recipe and absolutely love it. We tweaked it a bit for our tastes but we know you’ll love it too. Like most Indian food, it’s a warm comforting dish. Though the sauce is warm to the touch, it’s actually quite a cool taste. The Mango-Coconut sauce is such a contrast to the spices on the chicken it just makes you want to smile. Then add the cool crunch of a cucumber on top …it’s just got so many great things going on.

Ingredients:

  • 2  medium mangoes, peeled and sliced (NOTE: you can also use pineapple or papaya)
  • 1 (10 oz) can coconut milk
  • 4 tsp. vegetable oil
  • 4 tsp. spicy curry paste (NOTE: You can add more kick if you’d like)
  • 3 boneless chicken breast halves – cut into cubes
  • 1 medium sweet onion
  • ½ green pepper
  • 1 large cucumber, seeded and sliced

Directions:

  1. Place half of the mango slices into the bowl of a blender with the coconut milk. Blend until smooth and set aside until later.
  2. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.
  3. Stir in the curry paste, and cook until fragrant. (NOTE: about 1 minute)
  4. Add the chicken, onion and green peppers; cook until the chicken is done and the onions have softened. (NOTE: about 5 minutes)
  5. Pour in the mango puree and cook until heated through.
  6. Stir in the remaining mango slices and cucumber
  7. Serve over rice with Naan on the side.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

These are my epic pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. I discovered these at a work party of all places. A friend made them and my taste-buds have craved nothing else since. These cookies are fluffy, cake-like, lightly pumkiny, spiced mounds of chocolaty heaven. I’ve brought these guys to a lot of events and they are always a hit. They’ve even been requested a few times! As a formality, I do feel the need to apologize for your diet…because these little guys are super addictive. All, fatty goodness aside, I hope you enjoy these glorious nuggets.

Ingredients:

  • 2 sticks softened unsalted butter (What, I didn’t say they were good for you!)
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 12oz bag of semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Heat the oven to 350
  2. Lightly spray your cookie sheets with nonstick spray
  3. Using a mixer beat the butter until it becomes smooth
  4. SUGARS: Mix in the white and brown sugars a little at a time until the mixture is light and fluffy
  5. WET WORKS: Beat in the eggs 1 at a time, then mix in the vanilla and pumpkin puree.
  6. DRY GOODS: In a large bowl, whisk together the dry goods: flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves
  7. Slowly incorporate the flour mixture
  8. Stir in the chips
  9. Scoop the cookie dough onto the prepared cookie sheets (Small, large…doesn’t matter what size)
  10. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the cookies are browned around the edges
  11. Remove the cookie sheets from the oven and let them rest for 2 minutes then let them cool on paper towels

Sweet Potato & Black Bean Burger

I’ve noticed that overtime my taste buds have matured and I’m more daring in my eatable escapades. Those PB&J and chicken nugget days are gone. I remember I used to hate sweet potatoes. But now, I think they are simply delish and I’m constantly trying to add them into our meals. I came across this recipe for a sweet potato/ black bean burger, whaa?! Like the spinach burger, I had some concerns about these non-meat burgers. “Would the texture be weird? Would they be filling? Black beans AND sweet potatoes…what kind of a combo is that? Well, I can say that I don’t crave beef burgers anymore… I crave these.

Ingredients:

  • 1 can (15oz.) black beans, drained + rinsed
  • 3 cups cubed sweet potato, cooked + skin on ( about 1.5lbs)
  • ½ cup corn
  • 2/3 cup finely chopped onion – (½ medium onion)
  • 2 large garlic cloves, finely minced
  • ½ cup cooked quinoa
  • 6 tbs. whole wheat flour
  • 2 tbs. sunflower seeds
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • ¼ tsp. coriander
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • ¼ tsp. cayenne
  • 1 tbs. olive oil
  • black pepper to taste

Topping Options:

    • Roasted red pepper
    • Tomato
    • Avocado
    • Spicy Mustard
    • Ketchup

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 375* (NOTE: Wait till you finish cooking the quinoa + potato)
  2. Mash half of the beans in a bowl until they form a paste
  3. Lightly combine with the rest of the beans (NOTE: This adds texture)
  4. In a large bowl, mash the sweet potatoes. Each cube should be mashed, but you don’t want it creamy.
  5. Stir in the salt, pepper, oregano, coriander, chili powder, cayenne and olive oil
  6. Mix in the onion, garlic, corn, black beans, quinoa, sunflower seeds, and ground oats, until combined
  7. Form into balls, between your hands and flatten into 1/2”-3/4” thick patties. (NOTE: This should make 8 medium/large patties)
  8. Place on a lightly greased pan] and bake on each side for 15min, flipping once, half-way through.
  9. Remove from oven + serve!
  10. *To Freeze: Let them cool completely then place into a sealed container/bag. To reheat just heat them in a pan for 3-5 minutes per side.

How To Make Quinoa (I didn’t know either!):

  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed + drained
  • 2 cups water
  1. Heat a pot over medium
  2. Add quinoa and toast for 1-3 min, stirring a few times.
  3. Add water, turn heat to med-high and bring to a boil.
  4. Stir once, reduce heat to simmer + cover the pot with a lid.
  5. Set your timer to 15min and do not stir or open the lid!!
  6. Turn off the heat and move the pot to another burner for 5 min.
  7. Uncover, and fluff with a fork.

Chicken Tikka Masala

Recently, the cold, misty rain has made North Carolina feel more like Washington.  This weather had me craving something warm and cozy for dinner. The Mr. and I decided that it would be a perfect time to eat Indian food! So, we gathered restaurant recommendations from friends and set out to devour some Naan! We arrived at our restaurant of choice only to find that it’s closed on Mondays. GAH, their delicious menu distracted us from their hours. That night, while eating sub-par food, we did some recipe searching and found a delicious recipe. Neither of us had tried making Indian food because thought it would be too difficult. What kind of excuse is that?! So, that weekend we gathered our ingredients and created a chicken tikka masala that’s to die for.

Ingredients:

Marinade –

  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 tbs. lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. cayenne pepper (if you like it hot!)
  • 2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tbs. minced fresh ginger (or powdered ginger)
  • 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces

Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • (Note: if you have a TraderJoe’s nearby they have a pre-made sauce that actually has ALL these ingredients in it, and it’s only $3.99. That’s what we used to save some time and money…which we spent on Naan)

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, combine yogurt, lemon juice, 2 teaspoons cumin, cinnamon, cayenne, black pepper, ginger, and 4 teaspoons salt. Stir in chicken, cover, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. (NOTE: the longer it marinades the better the chicken will taste.)
  2. In a medium, lightly-oiled, skillets cook the chicken over medium-high heat until till it’s almost done. Then remove from heat and set aside.
  3. In a large skillet, add all sauce ingredients and simmer on low heat until sauce thickens, about 20 minutes. (NOTE: Or you can heat up the canned sauce mentioned above.)
  4.  Add the chicken and the rest of the marinade into sauce and simmer for 10 minutes.
  5. Serve over saffron rice and a side of Naan.

Garden Greek Appetizer

Image: The Lovely Cupboard

With all of the holiday gatherings nearly over, Christine and I had to find one final dish to bring for Christmas eve with my family. We pulled out a dusty Pampered Chef recipe book and came across this delightful, cheesy Greek dip. It’s simple to make and rich with fresh flavors, and turned out to be a big hit at our family Christmas dinner; jaw-droppingly tasty! Yummy Greek Dip – this certainly is not the last time our taste-buds will be hearing from you!

Ingredients:
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 8 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt (we used Greek yogurt, for obvious reasons)
  • 1 or 2 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 medium cucumber, seeded and chopped
  • 3 green onions, finely chopped
  • 3+ pitted ripe olives, finely chopped (we used Kalamata olives)

Combine the cream cheese, feta cheese, yogurt, garlic and pepper in a large mixer bowl. Beat at high speed until smooth. Spread the cream cheese mixture in a round 10-inch dish. Chill, covered, until firm. Top with the tomatoes, cucumber, green onions and ripe olives. Serve with assorted party breads and crackers.

Healthy Homeade Dog Treats

http://acozykitchen.com/homemade-dog-treats/
Image Credit: A Cozy Kitchen

Many of you already know about my totally healthy obsession with our dog Reese. If not, I’m sure if you read this blog long enough you will soon see what I mean. But, I feel like she deserves nothing but the best. So, she gets handmade doggie treats. Partly because I love her so much and partly because there is so much garbage in commercial dog treats. In hopes of extending her life and therefore mine. I make her these healthly, tasty dog treats. The best part is that they are also really affordable. All the ingredients cost maybe $10 bucks and you can easily make 6 batches yeilding over 100 tiny dog treats each. What a deal!

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup of dried skim milk
  • ¼  cup of corn meal
  • 1 tbls of beef bouillon
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbls Parsley
  • 1tbs garlic powder
  • ¼ cup of water or chicken stock

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl
  3. Thoroughly stir until the dough becomes stiff
  4. Roll dough on a lightly floured surface, to 1/4″ thickness
  5. Cut the dough into ½’’ pieces. NOTE: If you have a large dog you can make larger pieces with a cookie cutter (I like bone shapes).
  6. Place onto the cookie sheets
  7. Bake 30-40 minutes. NOTE: The longer you cook them the crunchier they will become.

Spinach Burgers

I found a recipe for spinach burgers on Pinterest and was intrigued. My mind was overcome with questions. How to they stay together? Do they have a weird texture? Would they taste bland? The list went on and on. To the point where I figured we had to make them so I could sleep at night. The verdict? They were simply wonderful. They were easy to make, packed full of flavor, had great texture and were guilt-free. I really think you should give these a try.

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag of chopped spinach
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder

Directions:

  1. With your hands, mix all the ingredients together in a bowl.
  2. Form into patties by hand or with a handy patty maker.
  3. Heat a non stick skillet over med-high and spray with cooking spray.
  4. Serve on a pair of buns, or fancy em’ up like we did with an over easy egg on top. NOTE: We thought these would make a great base for most foods. Like a filet of fish and rice combo would be a great addition. And for something simple, a couple simple squirts of Sriracha sauce would be fantastic. However you like it, these ‘burgers’ are delish.

Homemade Tomato Soup

It’s starting to get chilly down here in NC. Yes, you heard me correctly. It’s starting to get cold in December. Global warming is such a hoax…what a load of baloney.

Anyways, the crisp air was making my belly ache for something warm and comforting. Looking through the pantry I realized that I had everything I needed to make tomato soup without going to the store. Hold the phone, when does this ever happen? When do ever have all the ingredients I need without taking at least one trip to the grocery store? So, I had to make this soup for my belly and I had to make it for all man-kind. Well, one man-kind, and he loved it!

Ingredients

  • 1 (14-ounce) can chopped tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1 small carrot, diced
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup chopped basil leaves

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Strain the chopped canned tomatoes, reserving the juices, and spread onto a baking sheet, season with salt and pepper, to taste, drizzle with 1/4 cup of the olive oil and roast until caramelized, about 15 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, in a saucepan, heat remaining olive oil over medium-low heat and add the celery, carrot, onion and garlic, cook until softened, about 10 minutes.
  4. Add the roasted chopped canned tomatoes, reserved tomato juices, chicken broth, bay leaf and butter. Simmer until vegetables are very tender, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  5. Add basil then puree with a hand held immersion blender until smooth.