Chorizo Fried Rice tonight

Paula did not have to work tonight so I made an easy dish that we could enjoy before spending the evening together. It was “Chorizo Fried Rice“, a recipe that I saw in the April issue of Rachael Ray’s magazine. I love chorizo and so I was immediately interested in trying this dish. It only took a few minutes to make so I could throw it together after Paula woke up from her sleep. If you like chorizo like I do, you may want to try this. If that is the case, here is what you will need:

  • 2 tablespoons of canola oil
  • 1/2 of a medium red onion that is finely chopped
  • 1 large chopped poblano chile
  • 2 teaspoons of ground cumin
  • 1-2 cups of rice (Note: The original recipe called for yellow rice. I just made some sticky rice ahead of time, adding some turmeric for color)
  • 1 can of rinsed black beans
  • 3-4 ounces of cured chorizo that has been chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 2 finely chopped cloves of garlic
  • 1/3 cup of sour cream
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (Note: this is an optional garnish)

In a large skillet, heat the canola oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, poblano chile, and teaspoon of cumin. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in the rice, beans, chorizo, soy sauce, and the garlic. Cook over high heat, stirring often, until fragrant, about 3 to 5 minutes. Season with more salt and pepper as desired.

In a small bowl, mix the sour cream with 1 teaspoon of cumin. Thin it with a little bit of water if necessary.

Serve the fried rice with the sour cream mixture and cilantro on the side. Each person can add them as they wish.

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Ham, Potato and a few leftover vegetables…

We had some ham in the freezer and I decided that it was time to use it up. There are not a lot of recipes that call for ham. We also had some extra broccoli and asparagus in the refrigerator so I decided that we would just make this a simple meal. I bought a sweet potato for Paula and a Yukon Gold potato for me. I microwaved these. While they rested, I microwaved the broccoli and asparagus. Then I heated up the ham in a non-stick skillet for a few minutes. In no time at all, I had everything ready and we had a meal that was quite tasty. We also used up some of our leftovers in the freezer and the refrigerator…

Chicken and Tomato Dinner…all in one skillet

I was looking for an easy meal to make for dinner tonight since Paula was working and I was volunteering at school. I found this idea for a “creamy chicken-tomato skillet” in the May issue of Cooking Light. It was really quite tasty. There was a little bit leftover so Paula brought it for her meal when she went to work on Thursday. Here is what you would need if you want to try it at your house…

  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • .75-1 pound of skinless, boneless chicken thighs (Note: Cut these into small pieces)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 1 cup of grape tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup of sliced white onion
  • 1 minced garlic clove
  • 1 teaspoon of chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 cup of chicken stock or chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup of medium-grain brown rice
  • 2 cups of chopped (fresh) baby spinach
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice

Cook the rice. I used a rice cooker so I just let the rice cook while I was doing everything else…

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken with 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. Add the chicken to the skillet. Cook until chicken begins to brown, about 4 minutes. Add the tomatoes, onion, garlic, and rosemary. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is tender and the tomatoes begin to soften, roughly another 3 minutes.

Whisk together the stock and flour in a bowl until combined. Add to the chicken mixture. Stir and scrape the browned bits from bottom of skillet. Bring to a boil. Cook, stirring often, until the sauce thickens, 3-4 minutes.

When it is time to enjoy this meal, place the cooked rice in a medium bowl. Add the spinach, lemon zest, lemon juice, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. Toss to coat. As you do this, the hot rice will wilt the spinach. Divide the rice mixture among the plates. Top with the chicken mixture.

One final note… Paula and I have learned that if you buy fresh herbs but don’t use all of them, they will store quite well in the freezer. Just close them tightly in their original container inside a freezer bag. When you need some fresh herb, just take out what you need. They thaw out quickly and the rest can continue to be stored.

Vegetable Pasta Alfredo

Our friend Fiona came over for dinner tonight. I made a tasty dish that caught my eye in the April Cooking Light. It was a pasta dish that used asparagus, sugar snap peas and arugula to boost a basic alfredo sauce. It seemed like it would be a good dish to brighten up a rainy day. Afterwards, we played a game and just enjoyed catching up with her. The dish turned out to be quite tasty and I would recommend it if you are planning to have some company over in the next month or so.

Ingredients:

  • 6-8 ounces of fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 6-8 ounces of fresh sugar snap peas, trimmed and halved
  • 1/4 cup frozen green peas
  • 6 ounces of cavatappi or penne
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 3 minced garlic cloves
  • 3/4 cup of milk
  • 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
  • 2 ounces of softened cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup of baby arugula
  • 1-2 ounces of shaved pecorino Romano cheese (about 1/3 cup)

Fill a large Dutch oven about halfway up with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the asparagus, snap peas, and green peas. Cook until bright green, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the vegetables to a colander and then rinse the vegetables well with cold water.

Add the pasta to the boiling water. Cook according to package directions for al dente. Drain pasta.

Heat the olive oil in the Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, which should take about 30 seconds. Whisk the milk and flour together in a bowl. Add the milk mixture to the garlic and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 2-3 minutes. Add the cream cheese, salt, and pepper and continue to whisk until the cream cheese melts. Reduce the heat to low. Stir in the pasta and asparagus-pea mixture. Remove from the heat. The sauce will thicken upon standing once it is removed from the heat. Top with the arugula and shaved pecorino Romano cheese.

Pork and Broccoli and some Quinoa…

Paula had a doctor’s appointment. Then she had to attend a meeting at work. As a result, we ate dinner a bit late tonight. But we still enjoyed the meal and the time that we had together. I made a dish that was centered on some pork tenderloin served over a mixture of quinoa, broccoli and sweet potato. I saw the recipe in one of our Food Network magazines. It was quite flavorful and both of us enjoyed the meal. Here is what you will need if you also want to make it. Just remember that I made just enough for the two of us…

  • 1 medium pork tenderloin (about 1 pound)
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 medium sweet potato (peeled and cut into bite-size pieces)
  • 1 1/2 cups of broccoli florets
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1/2 cup of quinoa
  • Juice of 1 orange
  • 1/2 tablespoon of red wine vinegar
  • A pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)

Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven before preheating it to 450 degrees F. Halve the pork tenderloin crosswise, then halve lengthwise. Rub two-thirds of the garlic into the meat along with the oregano and cumin and a generous pinch each of salt and pepper. Set aside 10 minutes while the oven heats up.

Toss the sweet potato and broccoli in a large bowl with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, a generous pinch of cumin along with 1/4 teaspoon salt and some ground pepper. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast on the upper oven rack, stirring once, until lightly browned and tender, about 25 minutes. While the potatoes are cooking, cook the quinoa.

While the vegetables and quinoa cook, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pork and cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Flip the pork and transfer the skillet to the lower oven rack. Roast until a thermometer inserted into the center registers 145 degrees F, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board.

Stir the orange juice, vinegar, red pepper flakes, remaining garlic, 1 tablespoon olive oil and a generous pinch of dried oregano in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Divide the quinoa and vegetables among bowls. Slice the pork and add to the bowls. Drizzle with the orange sauce and enjoy!

Orange and Pomegranate Muffins

We had our monthly dinner group on Friday and it was our turn to bring dessert. Paula made these delicious orange and pomegranate muffins. They were a hit with everyone! There were even several left over so I will be enjoying them over the next week since they freeze quite well! I would recommend them if you want to make a great treat for those that you love!

Ingredients:

 

  • 3 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups of granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon of aluminum-free baking powder (Note: The aluminuum can react with the pomegranates and turn the batter blue!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 3 clementines
  • 1 cup of whole milt (at room temperature)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 sticks of unsalted butter (melted but kept warm)
  • 1/2 cup of pomegranate seeds
  • 1/2 cup of confectioner’s sugar

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line 18 muffin cups with paper liners. Whisk the flour, granulated sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the center.

Cut 2 clementines into 8 pieces each (peel and all). Transfer to a blender. Add the milk and blend until smooth. Add the eggs and blend until combined. Pour the mixture into the well in the flour mixture. Add the melted butter and stir until just combined. The batter will be lumpy.

Divide the batter among the muffin cups, filling them three-quarters of the way. Top evenly with the pomegranate seeds. Bake until the muffins are golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Let the muffins cool 5 minutes in the pans. Remove to a rack to cool completely.

Put the confectioners’ sugar in a medium bowl and squeeze in the juice from the remaining clementine. Stir to make a thick glaze, adding the juice from the remaining clementine half as needed. Drizzle the glaze over the muffins and allow the glaze to set before serving and letting everyone enjoy them! (Note: These made more than 18 muffins so be prepared to serve them to company or freeze what you cannot eat in 1-2 days and enjoy them later!)

 

Chicken and Rice…with a little bit of miso paste and and ginger

I made a tasty meal for Paula and I tonight. It was a recipe that I saw in Rachael Ray‘s magazine for April. It took a little bit of time to prepare but since we were home together and didn’t have any other plans, it seemed like a good night to try this recipe. It serves four people so we ended up with a little bit of leftovers that either of us could eat this weekend.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons of canola oil
  • 1 pound of boneless chicken thighs
  • 8 ounces of thinly sliced white mushrooms
  • 3-4 scallions, white and green parts separated and thinly sliced on an angle
  • 3 tablespoons of finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons of red miso paste
  • 3 cloves of finely chopped garlic
  • 1 1/2 cups of short-grain brown rice
  • 3 1/4 cups of chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup of frozen shelled edamame (plus 1/4 cup of thawed edamame)
  • 1/2 of a red serrano chile, thinly sliced (optional…if you want some heat)

Preheat the oven to 450°. In a large cast-iron skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the canola oil over medium-high heat. Season the chicken all over with salt and pepper. Add the chicken to the skillet. Cook until browned, about 7 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Add the mushrooms and the remaining tablespoon of canola oil to the skillet. Season with salt and pepper. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 5 minutes. Add the scallion whites, ginger, miso paste, and garlic. Reduce heat to medium and continue to cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add the rice and stir until coated.

Stir in the stock and frozen edamame beans. Nestle the chicken in the rice. Transfer the skillet to the oven. Bake until the rice is tender and the liquid is absorbed, about 45-50 minutes. Remove the skillet from the oven and continue to cook everything over high heat until the rice is crispy on the bottom, about 4 minutes. Top with the sliced chile, scallion greens, and thawed edamame.

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