Monday, August 12, 2019

Week 33: Butter Garlic Noodles

The Recipe
~400g pasta
90g butter
6-8 cloves garlic, minced
150g bacon, sliced (optional)
1 bell pepper, sliced
A handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
1tsp salt
1tsp pepper
~3/4dl Parmesan or Parmigiano cheese
Fresh basil (optional)

Cook pasta according to instructions on package.

Meanwhile, cook bacon in a small saucepan. Remove bacon, leaving fat behind and cook the sliced bell pepper until soft. Add a bit of water if the pan runs dry. Remove bell pepper. Turn heat to medium low and melt butter. Once the butter has melted, add garlic and cook for about 5 minutes until translucent - do NOT allow garlic to brown. Add salt and pepper, bell pepper, bacon and cherry tomatoes.

Drain the pasta and mix with the cheese. Pour the sauce over top and stir to combine. Allow the pasta to rest for a few minutes to absorb some of the butter.

Serve with basil and a sweet chili sauce if desired.

The Verdict
VERY garlicky! But we like garlic, so that's all good :-D The sauce didn't coat the pasta quite as nicely as I'd hoped for, but I think I may just not have left it to rest long enough. But it tasted great, so if you don't mind smelling like garlic for the rest of the evening, I'd definitely recommend it. I think I'd add more tomatoes next time though. I used about 7-8 this time and it could easily have carried twice that.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Week 30: Grilled Corn on the Cob

The Recipe
2 corn on the cob, peeled (... or whatever you'd call it...)
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
Olive oil
Salt

Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat and quickly saute the garlic until fragrant - about a minute. Lower the heat slightly and add the corn, grilling 2 minutes on each side. Sprinkle with salt and serve immediately.

The Verdict
SUPER easy to make, and really, really tasty. No modifications necessary.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Week 29: BBQ Chicken

The Recipe
~800g chicken (mix of dark and light meat)
2 onions, sliced
1 350ml bottle of BBQ sauce

Add everything to the crockpot in the order listed and cook on LOW for 6-8 hours.

Serve with boiled potatoes and some greens.

The Verdict
DH prefers light meat, I prefer dark, so this was a good chance for each of us to get our preference. One of the easiest crock-pot meals I've found so far (only 3 ingredients? sign me up!) and SUPER tasty. There was PLENTY of BBQ sauce, so it's possible that 1 cup would have been enough... but it's also possible that the fact that the chicken was completely covered is what made this so good!

I didn't try the light meat, but the dark was really, really good and I ate far more than I should have.

Week 28: Watermelon Lemonade

The Recipe
1 large watermelon
~1l soda water with citrus
Powdered sugar to taste

Do yourself a favour and make sure to either get a seedless watermelon or one with REALLY BIG SEEDS!! I got one which claimed to be seedless, but which ended up having a ton of really tiny seeds instead. They were a hassle and a half to remove and took MUCH longer than it ought to!

Cut the top off the watermelon and scoop out the flesh into a large bowl, removing any seeds on the way. Either add it to a blender or use an immersion blender to mash up the flesh finely. Depending on how much pulp you like you can either leave it as is or pour it through a sieve to just get the juice. If you do the latter, leave it to drip for awhile, stirring the remaining pulp from time to time - you can get a lot more out of it than you originally think.

Pour in the soda and add powdered / caster sugar to taste. It does have to be caster sugar rather than regular, as we want it to dissolve completely.

Add some ice cubes to the hollowed-out watermelon and pour in the lemonade. Keep the rest in a jar next to it for easy refills.

The Verdict
Really easy to make, but it didn't look quite as "wow" as I'd hoped. I think next time I might go for the easy solution and just cut up the watermelon rather than using it as a serving dish. The large surface area also allowed the fizz to disappear really quickly from the soda, which was a shame.

I did like it though 🙂 I didn't add quite enough sugar, so it was a bit on the sour side, and I think I should have limited myself to 1/2-3/4l soda instead, as it got quite diluted. Regardless, it still tasted really good, so I'll consider it a success!

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Week 24: Easy Chicken Tikka Masala

The Recipe
700g chicken in bite sized pieces
1 onion
3 garlic cloves
ginger
chili powder
Juice of 1 lime
2tbsp tomato paste
1tbsp paprika
1/2tsp cumin
1/2tsp tumeric
1tsp garam masala
1tsp salt
oil
2dl yoghurt
2tbsp ground almonds (~20-30)
2tbsp cream
Wedges of lime to garnish

Add onion, garlic, ginger and chili powder to a bowl and use a handblender or similar to blend it. Add lime juice, tomato paste and the spices (paprika through salt) and mix into a fine paste.

Heat the oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add the paste and cook for a few minutes until nice and fragrant. Add yoghurt and bring to a boil while stirring.

Put the chicken into a slow-cooker and pour the sauce over. Cook on HIGH for 3 hours or LOW for 6.

Mix in ground almonds and cream.

Serve with rice or naan bread. Garnish with wedges of lime and mango chutney.

The Verdict
I'd worried it might be a bit too hot, but actually it was rather mild in taste. Both the ginger and the chili was supposed to be fresh, but I used powder instead. Also, I didn't have any cream, but used milk instead. Don't think it made too much of a difference, since it's only 2 tbsp.

The spice palette worked really well! A bit tame for me, but the others liked it - and I could just add chutney and chili flakes to mine, so it was all good. The meat was a bit dry, unfortunately. I think next time I might either leave the chicken uncut while cooking, or I'd reduce the cooking time by ~1 hour (on low anyway).

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Week 21: Coconut Curry Soup

The Recipe
(Serves 2)
~100g precooked protein - I used chicken, but the original recipe called for shrimp
1 carrot (not too big. I used half of a large one)
1/2 bell pepper
2 cloves garlic
1/2 onion
~100g rice vermicelli (very thin noodles)
1tsp ginger
2 tbsp red curry paste
1l chicken broth
1 can (400ml) coconut milk
salt, pepper
oil
Juice from 1 lime

Julienne carrot and bell pepper. Put aside.

Mince garlic and julienne onion.

Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and cook until slightly soft. Add garlic, ginger and red curry paste and cook for about a minute until fragrant. Add broth and coconut milk and bring to a boil. Add salt and pepper to taste (add slightly more salt as you would otherwise - the noodles will absorb some of it).

Add noodles and boil for 2 minutes. Add the carrot and bell pepper and boil for another 2.

Split the precooked meat into two bowls and pour the boiling soup over. Squeeze some lime juice over. Serve immediately.

The Verdict
Two tablespoons of curry paste is a LOT, so this is a soup with more than just a bite. I loved it, but beware if you're making this for people who'd prefer less heat - I think it'd be far too much for my DH.

But apart from that I REALLY liked it! I didn't boil the noodles for quite long enough, so they still had a bit of bite, but not enough to detract. Really tasty and extremely easy to make.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Week 20: Mexican Pork Chops

The Recipe
4 pork chops
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp chili
1 tsp cumin
Juice from 1 lime
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp salsa

Mix together salt, cayenne pepper, chili and cumin in a bowl and lime juice, chopped garlic, honey and salsa in either a large bowl or a freezer bag. Sprinkle the pork chops with the spice-mix and place them in the box/bag with the salsa-mix, making sure to coat all sides. Let it marinade for at least 1 hour.

Heat oil on a pan and cook the chops until done.

Serve with rice and vegetables.

The Verdict
It was just borderline too spicy for DH, but I loved it. The salsa-honey mix worked really well. Perhaps I'll try just the marinade without the spices another time, to see if that works better.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Week 16: Lemon-Honey Chicken

The Recipe
(Serves 1)
A pinch of salt
A dash of pepper
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
Juice of half a lemon
1 tsp thyme
2 heaped tbsp honey
1 tbsp cornstarch
1dl water
4 chicken drumsticks or 2 chicken thighs (dark meat)
~1/2 small squash/zucchini, sliced

Place first 8 ingredients (salt through water) in a crockpot. Whisk sauce together. Add chicken and turn it over a few times to make sure it is thoroughly coated. Add squash slices on top.

Cook on LOW for ~8hours.

Serve with baked potatoes.


The Verdict
REALLY good! The sauce was a lot thinner than I had expected, despite the cornstarch, but it tasted great, and (probably thanks to the lemon) had penetrated through the chicken skin nicely. I also liked the taste it gave the squash. Definitely something I'll make again.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Week 14: Lasagna with Rocket Salad, Ham and Mushrooms

The Recipe
~25g rocket salad
200g ricotta or cottage cheese
1.75dl shredded cheddar
olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
200g thinly sliced ham
300g finely chopped mushrooms
1 (425g) can tomatoes
1 (140g) can tomato paste
1dl freshly chopped basil
shredded parmesan
lasagna pasta

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Chop up the rocket salad and mix it with the ricotta cheese and cheddar. Put aside.

In a large pot, add oil and cook onion and garlic until fragrant and slightly soft. Add ham and mushrooms and cook for a few minutes before adding the canned tomatoes and tomato paste. Bring the sauce to a boil, reduce heat and leave it to simmer for 5 minutes until it's thickened a bit. Add basil.

In an oven-proof dish layer pasta, cheese mixture, pasta, meat sauce, pasta etc. End with pasta and parmesan. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 10 minutes

The Verdict
Tasted good but strangely bland. It was definitely in need of something - although I'm not quite sure what that something should be. I liked the idea of an alternative filling for a lasagna though, so might play around with that a bit more... but doubt I'll make this specific recipe again.

Week 13: Marinated Bell Pepper

The Recipe
4 bell peppers
1.25dl olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp freshly chopped basil
2 tbsp freshly chopped oregano

I had neither fresh basil nor fresh oregano, so used about 1tsp of each dried.

Cut the bell peppers into quarters, removing stem and seeds. Put on a baking sheet and grill until the skin bubbles up and starts to go black. Take them out of the oven and leave to rest under a moist towel for 5-10 minutes or until they're cool enough to handle. Peel off the skin (don't obsess with this - just get as much off as you can). Cut into thin stripes.

Mix together olive oil, lemon juice basil and oregano. Add the bell pepper and make sure it all gets coated in the marinade. Leave for at LEAST 2 hours - preferably overnight.

Serve as a side by itself or use in wraps or on sandwiches.

The Verdict
This is SO good! I didn't grill the bell peppers for long enough, so only got about half the skin off, but that didn't matter much - the marinade still penetrated nicely. I misread the recipe so I only had time to marinade it for about 1 hour before dinner. The leftovers I refrigerated and saved for sandwiches the next day - it definitely improved after such a long time marinading. It was good the first evening too, but especially the slices where I hadn't gotten all the skin off had gotten much softer the second day.

It's a lot of work for every day meals, but tastes really good, so worth while to do once in a blue moon.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Week 8: Apple-celery stuffed pork chops

The Recipe
(Serves 2 who aren't too hungry)
1 thick pork chop, bone-in (the one we got was about 1lb including bone)
1 small, crisp apple, deseeded and chopped finely
1/2 small onion, chopped finely
2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
1 celery stalk, chopped finely
30g bread crumbs
2tbsp chicken stock (or just plain water if it's too much hassle making up that little stock!)
rosemary, salt and pepper
butter and oil for cooking
1tsp maple syrup
1tsp mustard
A pinch each of salt, pepper and rosemary

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Warm oil and butter (about 1tsp of each) in a pan. Add apple, onion, garlic, celery, breadcrumbs, chicken stock, rosemary salt and pepper and cook until the onion's soft and the bread crumbs are slightly brown. Put aside and leave to cool.

Once cool enough to handle, cut a deep "pocket" in the pork chop and stuff as much of the filling into it as you can get. Discard the rest (or serve it on the side - whichever).

Mix together maple syrup, mustard, salt, pepper and rosemary. Rub each side of the pork chop with the marinade. Heat a bit more oil in the pan, reduce to medium heat and cook the pork chop for 4-5 minutes on each side to get a nice, crisp coat. Transfer to an ovenproof dish and cook in the oven for 20-30 minutes depending on thickness of pork chop.

Cut in half, tossing a coin (or playing rock, scissor, paper, lizard, spock!) to see who gets the bone.

Serve with potato fries and some greens.

The Verdict
Really, really good! Definitely something I could see myself making again, as the meat was nice and moist, the flavours worked really well together, and it wasn't even that complicated to make! I've adapted the measurements somewhat, as the first try had waaaay too high a ratio of bread crumbs. I think this works better. You could even leave out the stuffing completely, and just use the marinade for ordinary "thin" pork chops. It's a nice variation to the usual honey-mustard marinade.

Week 7: Sweet Potato Fries

The Recipe
~500g sweet potatos
50g corn starch
3/4dl COLD water
~1/2 l oil for frying
Salt, pepper and spices (e.g. paprica, chili, cayenne pepper, cumin etc.) to taste.

Peel the potatoes and cut them into thin fries. Mix the corn starch and water in a bowl and whisk until the corn starch has completely dissolved. Dump the fries in a few at a time and put them on a rack to drip.

Meanwhile heat the oil over high heat in a thick-bottomed pot. You want it REALLY hot or the fries will boil rather than fry. Once it's hot enough, put in a handful or so of fries - you don't want to overcrowd them. I found I could do about 15 at a time. Don't be tempted to turn down the heat - I did, and it meant an entire batch was boiled rather than fried. Still tasty, but not really what I wanted.

Cook each batch of fries for about 5-7 minutes until golden brown. Move to paper towels to let excess oil drain. Move to a plate and season with salt, pepper and whatever spices you fancy.

You could put them in the oven at low heat (about 100C) to keep warm while you cook the rest, or just do what we did, and eat them while you cook the next batch!

The Verdict
A LOT of work, but so, so good!!! Don't know when or if I'll ever make this again, but it was good!!! YUM!

Oh, as for boiling some? In the photo below you can clearly see the difference between those that were boiled (top) and the ones that were properly fried (bottom).

Monday, February 11, 2019

Week 6: Squash Nachos

The Recipe
(Serves 2 with very little left over)
2 squash, cut into ½ cm slices
salt and pepper
oil
1 can corn (~300g)
1 cup shredded cheese
1 bell pepper, diced
1 cup tomatoes, diced
300g chicken (optional)
2-3 green onions, sliced
1 avocado, sliced
1tbsp sour cream or greek yogurt
Juice from 1 lime
hot sauce (optional)

Preheat oven to 200C.

Season the squash with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a pan over medium-high heat and cook the squash slices for 2-3 minutes on each side or until tender but still crispy (I had to do this in 2 batches in order not to crowd the pan). Move to an oven proof dish and top with cheese.

In the same pan, cook corn, green onion and bell pepper for a few minutes before transferring to the oven proof dish. Add a bit more oil if necessary and cook chicken until just done. Transfer this to the oven proof dish as well.

Bake for about 5 minutes until the cheese has melted.

Meanwhile mix sour cream / yogurt with the lime juice and hot sauce. Once the squash nachos are out of the oven, add avocado, tomatoes and the dressing.


The Verdict
REALLY good! I think I grilled the squash for a tad too long, as they weren't really crispy any longer, so I'll try to get that better next time. But other than that, I really loved it, and there weren't nearly as many leftovers as I had neither expected nor hoped!

I left the hot sauce out of the dressing and just served that on the side instead, as DH isn't a fan of things being too hot.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Week 5: Firecracker Chicken

The Recipe
1/2 dl hot chili sauce (e.g. Sriracha)
1/2 dl honey
1/2 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Butter for cooking
450g chicken
salt and pepper

In a small pan, heat chili sauce, honey, soy sauce, vinegar and garlic until the honey has melted.

Melt the butter in a large pan, season the chicken with salt and pepper and brown for about 3-5 minutes per side. Transfer to an oven proof dish and pour a spoonful of the sauce over.

Bake at 200C until the chicken is cooked (about 15-20 minutes depending on the thickness), basting with the sauce every 5 minutes or so.

The Verdict
I served this with baked potatoes, sweet potatoes and parsnips cut up into "french fries". Went really well with the sauce :-D

Quite hot, so I ended up only basting my chicken, and leaving DH's as-is. I really loved it though, and DH liked the tiny bit of sauce his chicken picked up from being baked in the same pan. Quite simple to make too, so definitely something I'll make again.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Week 4: Crockpot Thai Curry

The Recipe
1 can coconut milk
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp curry paste
1 tsp oyster sauce (optional)
1 tsp ground ginger
2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
salt to taste
450g chicken
1 onion, chopped
2 bell peppers, diced
1 squash, diced
1 sweet potato, peeled and diced

Add first 7 ingredients (coconut milk through garlic) to the crockpot and mix until combined. Taste and add salt and extra curry paste to taste. Add chicken, turning over once or twice to make sure it's covered in the sauce.

Add all remaining ingredients. Cook on LOW for 6-8 hours or HIGH for 4-6 until the chicken is done. Shred chicken and return to pot.

Serve with rice.

The Verdict
I'd forgotten the salt, and it showed :-P Fortunately easily remedied though, and I really liked it otherwise. The curry paste added a nice "bite" without being too hot for my less-than-chili-crazy DH. The sauce was a tad thin compared to what I had expected I might try turning the chicken in flour first next time, to see if that makes a difference.

I cooked mine for all 8 hours, which was a tad too much, as the sweet potato had gotten too mushy. I'll try to check after 6 hours next time.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Week 3: Honey Garlic Sesame Chicken

The Recipe
450g chicken
1 onion, sliced
2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp dried ginger or 1 tbsp fresh
4 tbsp honey
4 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp ketchup
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1/2-1 tsp sambal oelek (chili sauce)
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds

Place everything except sesame oil and sesame seeds in the crockpot. Cook on HIGH for 2-5 hours or LOW for 6-10 hours.
Shred the chicken and mix it back into the sauce together with the sesame oil and seeds.

Serve with rice and grated carrots.

The Verdict
The taste was very intense, so it definitely needed the freshness of the grated carrots to work. I did like the way it tasted though, so perhaps it was just a tad too acidic? I'll probably try to leave out the vinegar next time.

Week 2: Jerusalem Artichoke Soup

The Recipe
500g Jerusalem artichokes
1 large potato or 2-3 small ones
1 liter chicken or vegetable stock
2 dl heavy cream
2 dl milk
lemon juice

Peel the jerusalem artichokes and potatoes and boil them in the stock until done - about 15-20 minutes. Use an immersion blender and blend the soup until smooth. Add cream and milk and bring up to a simmer again. Add salt, pepper and lemon juice according to taste.

Serve with warm bread and possibly bacon.

The Verdict
A bit thinner than I had expected, so I'll probably use less stock (or more vegetables) next time - or just leave it to simmer for a bit longer. The taste was great though, so definitely something I'll make again :)