Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Week 51: Oven-baked Meatballs

The Recipe
500g lean minced beef
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp paprika
1 tbsp olive oil
75g firm cheese
500g cherry tomatoes
2 bell peppers
1 garlic

Mix the beef with salt and paprika. Cut the cheese into 12 pieces. Divide the meat into 12 pieces and roll them to balls around the cheese. Put in an oven-proof dish and baste them with olive oil.
Cut the bell pepper into 2x2cm squares and put them and the tomatoes into the dish with the meatballs. Split the garlic into cloves, but leave the skin on. Add the garlic to the dish. Pour a bit of olive oil over (basil if you have it) and season with salt and pepper.

Bake at 225C for 30 minutes. Serve with pasta.

The Verdict
Really, really good! I think I used too soft cheese, so most of it melted out through the meatballs - I'll go for some firmer (and more expensive) next time. The meat probably wasn't quite lean enough, but the excess fat from it, mixed together with the melted cheese and some of the liquids released from the tomatoes and bell pepper made for a really good sauce.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Week 50: Caramelized Wok

The Recipe
250g pork in thin stripes
1 clove garlic, chopped
salt, pepper
1 tbsp oil, divided
3 bell peppers
1 small squash
1 onion
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar / red-wine vinegar
Fresh basil (optional)

Mix 1/2 tbsp oil, salt, pepper and garlic with the meat. Leave to marinate while you chop the rest of the vegetables into bite-sized pieces.

Warm up a wok or thick-bottomed pan over high heat and cook the meat until brown on all sides. Remove from wok.

Add the other 1/2 tbsp oil to the pan and cook vegetables until almost done but still a bit crisp - about 8 minutes. Mix the vinegar and sugar and pour it over the vegetables while stirring. Let it reduce somewhat and give the vegetables a caramelized coating. Return the meat to the wok and add basil.

Serve with bread or pasta.

The Verdict
I'm not sure what I did wrong, but the vinegar/sugar never really reduced so there wasn't much of a caramelized effect going on. Also, I think I would have been better off serving it with bread than with pasta (or as the fillings of a tortillas! Actually, that would probably have been the best!) as pasta tends to be rather bland, and there just wasn't enough taste in the stir-fry itself (quickly helped with a bit of chilli sauce fortunately). But it has definite potential, so I think I'll try to again, this time in tortillas rather than with pasta. Not sure what I'll do about the lack of caramelization though... I'll have to think about that.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Week 49: Baked Potato Soup

The Recipe
2 large potatoes
1/2 tbsp oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp paprika
5dl vegetable or chicken stock
25g grated cheese
4 tbsp milk

Bake the potatoes until soft. Let them cool and peel off the skins.

In a pot heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic and cook until the onions are translucent. Stir in salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and paprika. Add stock and potatoes. Puree until creamy.

Add the cheese and milk. Heat while stirring until the cheese is completely melted and the soup is hot.

The Verdict
Somewhat more cumbersome to make than my usual potato soup, and tastes about the same. I don't think I'm going to make this again.

Week 48: Oriental Wok

The Recipe
400g sirloin steak
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp ginger
2 onions
1 red, 1 yellow and 1 green bell pepper
1 tsp oil
2dl chicken bouillon
3 tbsp hoisinsauce or chilisauce
1 tbsp corn flour

Mix soy sauce, ginger, chili and pepper in a bowl. Slice the sirloin steak and turn it in the mix. Let it set for 15 minutes.
Peel and chop the onions. Cut the bell peppers into stripes.
Heat the oil in a wok. Cook the bell peppers and onions for about 5 minutes while stirring.
Take the meat out of the marinade and dry it with paper towels. Cook the meet with the vegetables until it's done.
Mix bouillon, hoisinsauce and corn flower in another bowl. Poor the mixture into the wok while stirring. Let the liquid thicken. Serve immediately with boiled rice.

The Verdict
I didn't have any hoisin sauce, so I used chili sauce instead. I liked it well enough. It wasn't all that different from most stir-fry dishes I make, but I usually use cheaper meat, and I could taste the difference.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Week 47: Corn & Chorizo Chowder

The Recipe
150g (6 oz) sliced good bacon, chopped
2 leeks, white & light green parts sliced
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 clove garlic, minced
160g (6 oz) Spanish chorizo, sliced
2 tbsp flour
3 potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 liter (4 cups) chicken stock
1 handful fresh basil, chopped
3,75dl (1 1/2 c) milk
2 cans (2 cups) corn

In a pot or wok cook the bacon until crisp. Move the bacon to a paper towel to drain but leave the fat in the pan. Set the bacon aside. Add a bit of oil if necessary - my bacon never seems to leave very much fat behind always do.

Add the leeks, onion, garlic and chorizo to the pot. Cook on medium for about 5 minutes. Sprinkle the flour in and cook while stirring for a couple of minutes. Add the potatoes and stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and let simmer for 10 minutes. Add the basil, salt and pepper. Simmer covered for another 15 minutes. Add the bacon, milk and corn. Simmer for another 10 minutes.

The Verdict
Really, really good! I didn't know whether the taste of the chorizo would be too over-powering, but it wasn't at all - perhaps it was tempered by the milk and the corn. In any case, it was perfect for a cold, snowy, wintery day like yesterday and did an excellent job at warming me up. Definitely something I'll make again another time.

2018 I tried making this again last night and it couldn't quite live up to my expectations. It tasted fine, but I have so many other soups I like better.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Week 46: Honey-mustard chicken

The recipe
1 teaspoon butter
2 boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts
1 small chopped onion
2 clove garlic, pressed
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons mustard
1/3 teaspoon dried thyme
Salt, pepper

Melt the butter in a skillet with a tight-fitting lid over medium heat; add chicken and cook for 10 minutes or until chicken is browned on the bottom. Turn chicken and add remaining ingredients. Cover skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 15-20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

Serve with baked potatoes and carrot sticks.

The Verdict
Well, I loved it. DH ended up eating more carrot sticks than chicken, but whether that was a sign of him not really liking the chicken or him REALLY liking the carrots, I can't really say ;) I thought it was really, really, really yummy though, and will definitely be making it again! The honey-mustard mixture adds a terrific taste to the chicken.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Week 45: Thai Curry Soup

This was a bit of a mix-and-match. Earlier this year I'd tried a delicious Thai Curry Soup which I wanted to try to replicate, however none of my cookbooks had a recipe that sounded exactly right, so I used three different ones for inspiration.

The Recipe
1 litre salted water
2-3 chicken drumsticks
1 bell pepper in thin strips
1 onion in thin rings
1 clove garlic, chopped
400ml coconut milk
5 carrots in thin sticks
10 cherry tomatoes, halved
2-3 handfuls of soup-appropriate pasta
1 tbsp red curry paste
1 tsp ginger
Fresh basil (optional)
Tomato sauce (haven't quite figured out how much yet)

In a large pot, bring the water to boil and add the chicken drumsticks and 2 of the carrots cut into large pieces. Reduce to a simmer and boil for 1 hour. Remove the drumsticks and carrots from the stock, discard the carrots, skin and bones and cut the meat into bite-sized pieces. Pour the stock into a measuring cup. If you have less than a litre (and you will, as some will have evaporated), add extra water/chicken stock (depending on how chicken-y you want it - I added chicken stock).

Return the pot to the stove and turn the heat down low. Add curry paste, onions and garlic and cook, stirring frequently for 5 minutes or until the onion is soft. Add the carrots and the bell pepper and stir for a few minutes more. Return the chicken meat and stock to the pot and add the coconut milk. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and leave to simmer for 15 minutes. Add pasta and tomatoes and leave to simmer for another 15 minutes. Garnish with fresh basil on top and serve.

The Verdict
Yummy! The curry gave it a pleasant 'bite' without making it too hot. It wasn't quite as I wanted it to be though, as I remembered the taste as being more "tomato-y", so for the next portion, I added some tomato sauce. Unfortunately I either added too much or I should have used tomato paste or canned tomatoes instead, because it ended up tasting much too ketchup-y - which was definitely not what I was going for.

I still have half left though (the recipe above gives 4 generous portions at least), so I may try adding some more chicken stock and coconut milk to the rest, and see if that evens it out a bit.

I also felt it lacked something else to make it properly Thai-like, but have no clue whether that 'something' was ginger, lemon-grass... or just some extra salt to bring out the flavours already there. But for a first try, I don't think the soup turned out too badly :)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Week 44: Vegetable Gratin

I never said the recipes had to be for main courses ;) Side dishes count as well.

The Recipe
1 broccoli
3 leeks
3 carrots
200g mushrooms
100g shredded cheese
3 eggs
1.5dl milk
Salt, pepper

Wash and chop the broccoli, leeks, carrots and mushrooms into bite-size pieces. Heat some oil in a pan and cook over high heat for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Turn down the heat to medium-low and let simmer under lid for 10 minutes. Transfer to an ovenproof dish.

Mix eggs, milk, salt and pepper and pour over the vegetables. Top with shredded cheese.

Bake at 225C for 20 minutes.

The Verdict
I'd used tex-mex cheese which actually have a really nice kick to the dish. Other than that, I have to admit I wasn't too impressed by it. Too much work for something that only tasted okay. But then I never have been terribly fond of broccoli. I might have enjoyed it more if I had used squash instead.

DH didn't care much for it either, so this one gets dumped.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Week 43: Fungi Soup

... okay, I'm not sure if I'm even translating this correctly, because "fungi" combined with something you eat just sounds completely WRONG to me! Yet to a Dane "Mushroom soup" sounds totally wrong, because here mushrooms is a specific... eh... thingie ;) and not used in the broader sense. I'll be using "fungi" in the following, and hope that doesn't sound too much like I'm working with toadstools or organisms that should definitely not be found on your bathroom floor (or the floor of any other room in your house, for that matter!).

The Recipe (Makes 2 bowls)
250g mixed fungi (I used brown mushrooms, shit-take and oyster mushrooms)
1 small onion
1 clove garlic
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp flour
1/3 litre (1.5 cup) chicken or vegetable bouillon
3 tbsp white wine
3 tbsp cream
salt, pepper, oregano
75g bacon

Cook bacon on a pan until crisp. Transfer to plate and blot with paper towels.

Chop onion and garlic finely. Melt butter in a pot and cook onion and garlic until soft. Add flour and cook briefly, stirring frequently. Add bouillon a little at a time, stirring constantly. Add chopped fungi and bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium and let simmer under a lid for 15 minutes or until the fungi are done. Transfer to a blender or food processor to puree the soup (or do as I do and use a hand/immersion blender). Return soup to pot and add cream and wine. Add salt, pepper and oregano according to taste. Heat through until just below boiling.

The Verdict
I have to admit, I was VERY sceptical about this while cooking it. The simmering fungi... did not smell all that nice. However, I figured I might as well go through with it, and fortunately discovered that it tasted a LOT better than it smelled! Probably not something I'll be in a hurry to make again, as it was too much of a hassle when compared to the results, but it was definitely edible.

If I do ever make it again, I think I'll try with some other fungi. Chanterelles, perhaps.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Week 42: Maltese Chicken

The Recipe
300g chicken breast, cut in stripes
2 cloves garlic
1 bell pepper
1 tbsp oil
3dl dry red wine (just over 1 cup)
2 heaped tbsp honey
Salt and pepper

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat; add chicken and garlic. Cook until almost done. Add bell pepper for the last few minutes of cooking. Once tender, remove chicken and bell pepper from the skillet. Add the wine and honey; simmer until sauce is reduced, stirring frequently (about 5 minutes at high heat). Season to taste with salt and pepper. Return chicken and bell pepper to skillet, and stir to coat.
Serve with roasted potatoes.

The Verdict
I'm usually not too fond of red-wine sauces, but this was YUMMY! I think it must have been the honey. It needed more salt than I added, but otherwise it was really, really good. I'll definitely be making this again!

Week 41: Chicken Stir-Fry

The Recipe
400g chicken breast
1 tsp ginger
1 tbsp dry sherry or red wine
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 cup peanuts
1/2 cup oil
1 onion, sliced
1 red bell pepper in bite-sized pieces
1 green bell pepper in bite-sized pieces
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 tsp chilli sauce
2 tsp corn flour.

Cut the meat into bite-sized pieces and marinate it in ginger, sherry and soy sauce for at least 30 minutes.
Roast chilli and peanuts in hot oil for about a minute. Remove from the wok. Stir-fry onion and bell peppers for 1 minute. Remove from wok or push to the side. Stir-fry the meat for 2 minutes or until it's done.
Add chicken stock, chilli sauce and corn flour. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently, until the sauce thickens.
Return vegetables, peanuts and chilli to the wok and warm through. Serve with rice.

The Verdict
1/2 cup of oil? Are they nuts??? Even half that would be too much. The peanuts weren't roasted, they were deep-fried! And everything else started boiling rather than stir-frying.
Surprisingly dull, considering I've made similar dishes with great success. If I'm ever to make this again (highly unlikely at this point) I'll definitely be using less oil and more chilli.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Week 40: Loaded Potato Soup

The Recipe
2 large peeled, cubed potatoes
1 cup water
8 bacon strips
2 large chopped onions
1 can condensed cream of chicken soup, undiluted (400g)
1 3/4 cups milk
1 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon salt

Cook potatoes in water until tender. Meanwhile, cook bacon in a skillet until crisp; remove to paper towels to drain. In the same skillet, saute onion in drippings until tender. Add to undrained potatoes. Stir in soup, milk, sour cream, salt and pepper. Cook over low heat for 10 minutes or until heated through (do not boil). Sprinkle each bowl with crumbled bacon.

I couldn't find chicken soup so I used chicken-mushroom soup instead, but I doubt that made any huge difference.

The Verdict
I love potato soups and I love chicken soups, so I had high hopes for this one. Unfortunately I didn't care much for it at all. It tasted okay, but was much, much, MUCH too rich for me (foie gras rich). I think it may have been the chicken soup and it would probably have been fine if I'd used stock instead.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Week 39: Tex-Mex Chicken Soup

The Recipe
4 cups water
2 drumsticks
1/2 cup canned diced tomatoes, undrained
1/2 cup canned sweet corn kernels
1/2 cup chopped onions
1/2 tablespoon chopped jalapeño peppers
1/2 tablespoon fajita seasoning mix
1 clove garlic, minced
chili powder
tortilla chips

In a medium pot boil water, drumsticks and salt for 1 hour. Remove drumsticks from stock (don't throw away the stock, you'll need it for later!) and peel the meat from the bones. Discard bones and skin.
In a medium pot sprayed with non-stick spray, onion, garlic, seasoning, and spices over medium heat until onions soften. Add chicken broth and bring to a boil. Then reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the corn and diced tomatoes, and continue to cook for 5 minutes. Add chicken and jalapeño. Stir for 2 to 3 minutes to thoroughly blend flavors.

Once ready to serve, top each serving with crushed chips and, if desired, cilantro, sour cream and/or cheese.

The Verdict
Very similar to my recipe for a Mexican soup (only with chicken rather than bacon), but that's not a bad thing, as I looove that soup. It's quite spicy, so if you don't like the heat you may want to leave out the jalapeños and substitute paprika for chilli. I like spicy food though, so thought it was great! :)

It wasn't all that chicken-y though. Either the stock ended up being too weak, or the tomatoes overpowered the taste (or both!). I wonder how it would have been if I'd added some bouillon.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Week 38: Spicy Chicken

The Recipe
1lb half-frozen chicken breasts
3 sausages
1 tbsp cajun spice (see mix below)
0.5 tsp oregano
1 tsp paprika
1.24 dl flour
2 bell peppers
3 carrots
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
120g butter (divided)
3/4dl oil (divided)
1 can (425g) tomatoes w. chili
1 tsp sugar
2.5dl (1 cup) water

Cut chicken, sausages and vegetables into bite size pieces. Mix cajun spice, oregano, paprika and flour and pour all but 2tbsp over the chicken and sausage pieces. Heat half the oil and half the butter in a wok and cook the chicken until brown - it doesn't need to be done at this point. Remove chicken from heat and keep warm. Heat the rest of the oil and the butter and cook the carrots, bell pepper and onion for 5-6 minutes until they're soft. Add garlic and stir for another minute. Add tomatoes, sugar and chicken/sausage and let the sauce simmer (no lid) for 12 minutes. Add the rest of the flour and the water to the sauce. Stir until sauce thickens (happened immediately to me).

Serve with pasta.

The Verdict
Tasty! But surprisingly rich! I think it was all the flour actually. It's very, very filling. This could serve 5 easily - six if you add bread and a nice salad. It would have been even better with a bit of grated cheese on top. Definitely worth a repeat... although I think DH would have preferred if I'd used tomatoes without chilli.

Cajun spice
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp onion powder
2 tsp white pepper
2 tsp black pepper
1.5 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp thyme
0.5 tsp oregano
Mix and keep dry until use

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Week 37: Onion Soup

Be warned. This recipe takes FOREVER. It's a food of love thing. Worth it though.

The Recipe
1.5 tbsp butter
0.5 tbsp olive oil
About 350g thinly sliced yellow onions (that's about 3-4 decent sized)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp sugar
1.5 tbsp flour
1 liter beef stock
1/2 c red or white wine (optional)
1 bay leaf
1/4 tsp sage (optional)
Salt & pepper

Melt the butter with the oil in your casserole oven and add the sliced onions. Stir the onions to coat with butter. Cover the pan and cook over med. high heat 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are tender and translucent. Then, uncover the pan, raise the heat closer to high, and stir in the salt and sugar. The sugar helps the onions to caramalize. Cook about 30 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions are deep golden brown. Watch out that they don't get too dark brown/black though - burnt onion isn't nice. Don't worry about the brown gunk building up on the bottom of the pan; it's called fond and it adds serious flavor to the soup. Heat up the bouillon in a separate pan.

Lower the head to medium/moderate and add the flour. Stir in the flour well. Add a bit more butter if the flour isn't all absorbed into a paste with the onions. Cook slowly, stirring constantly, for about 2 minutes, to brown the flour. Remove from heat and pour about a cup of hot broth in and stir the heck out of it with a whisk, to blend the flour and broth together (you'll also scrape that marvelous fond off the bottom of the pan).

Put back on heat. Add the rest of the bouillon, the wine, bay, and sage, and bring to a simmer. Let it simmer slowly for 30 to 40 minutes, season to taste with salt and pepper.

The fancy way it's served in restaurants is to put a crusty slice of french bread in the bottom of a soup bowl or crock, cover with soup, then with slices of mozzarella cheese. Broil it for just long enough to melt and brown the cheese.

The Verdict
I wasn't completely sure about this recipe as I already have a very delicious and MUCH easier/quicker recipe for an onion soup that I'm absolutely crazy about. I was intrigued by the "love of food" thing though. I cut the recipe in half, and it was perfect for one, however I do think I ought to have adjusted some of the cooking times as well - I only left the onions to caramelize for 15-20 minutes, and they were almost turning black! I may not have been stirring often enough though, so that might have something to do with it as well.

Despite taking forever, the recipe is really easy and worth the effort. I'd say it's as good as my other recipe, but tastes more "high cuisine" somehow (the other is pretty much just onions with bouillon). I'll be making this again, but will be careful with ventilation next time - the entire flat smells like cooked onions now!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Week 36: Steaks with Red Wine Sauce

The Recipe
2 steaks
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
2 tsp tomato paste
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup red wine
3/4 cup beef broth
1/2 tsp thyme

Cook steaks until done. Remove and keep warm.
Add oil to pan. Add onion and garlic and stir for a couple of minutes picking up the brown steak bits from the bottom of the pan. Let it soften and brown. Add tomato paste, broth, wine and thyme. Whisk and reduce for 5 minutes. Return steaks, turning over to coat.

The Verdict
Well, steaks are always good, but I have to admit I prefer Bearnaise sauce to red wine sauce. Probably not something I can be bothered making again.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Week 35: Asian Fish

The Recipe
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
1/4 onion, chopped
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 clove garlic, pressed
3/4 teaspoon minced fresh gingerroot
2 firm-fleshed fish fillets (I used salmon)
Chili flakes (optional)

Combine all ingredients, except fish, in a bowl. Add fish and leave in the fridge to marinate for about 1 hour. Transfer to ovenproof dish and cook at 200* for 20 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork.

Serve with brown rice.

The Verdict
I think I'll use more honey next time and possibly cook on a pan rather than in the oven next time, because most of the marinade ended up burned and stuck to the ovenproof dish. The fish itself was nice though, although I have other recipes involving salmon and honey that I like more.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Week 34: Spicy Bean Soup

The Recipe
2 good pork sausages
1 clove garlic
1 small onion
Chilli according to taste
1 can (400g) stewed tomatoes
1 can (400g) beans - rinsed and drained
3.75dl stock
Olive oil
Salt, pepper, oregano, basil

Heat the oil in a pot, quickly brown the sausages on all sides and remove. Add chilli, chopped garlic and onion and cook for a couple of minutes. Cut the sausages into bite-sized pieces and add to the pot. Stir quickly and then add tomatoes and stock. Bring to boil and let it simmer for 20 minutes. Add beans and leave to simmer for another 10 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, oregano and basil.

The Verdict
DH wasn't at home, so I could make this as spicy as I wanted - and so I did, and it was good :-D The recipe said to blend the tomatoes and the beans, and I think I may do that next time for a creamier soup, but even as it was, it was really, really good. Perfect for a day like today when I was stuck at home with a bad cold.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Week 33: Pasta Gratin

The Recipe
250g pasta
250g mushroom
1 bell pepper
6 medium carrots
2 leeks
1 small squash
175g ham
1 can stewed tomatoes (~400g)
100g mozzarella
4 cloves of garlic

Boil the pasta according to the instructions on the package. Meanwhile chop the garlic and cut everything else into bite-sized pieces. In a skillet, heat 1 tbsp olive oil and cook the garlic and the mushrooms for a couple of minutes. Transfer to ovenproof dish. In the same skillet, saute ham, bell pepper, squash, carrots and leeks for 5-7 minutes. Transfer to ovenproof dish. Mix the vegetables and ham with pasta, stewed tomatoes and cheese. Bake at 200C for 20 minutes.

The Verdict
I need to add more salt next time, as I forgot that this time round, but otherwise really delicious!! I used tomatoes with chilli which was a tad too spicy for DH and perfect for me! Next time I'll probably use 'plain' tomatoes and then add some jalapenos to my portion afterwards. Definitely something I'll be making again sometime.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Week 32: Crisp Tortillas Towers

Hmmm... I seem to have misplaced the recipe for this, but since it definitely wasn't worth a repeat, that doesn't matter too much, I'll just type it up from memory.

The Recipe
Cut two tortillas into quarters. Melt butter in a pan and cook them until they're crisp.
Halve two tomatoes and scoop out the seeds, chop the tomatoes and half a red chilli (deseeded and deribbed) and cook them for 3 minutes. Add 1/2lb shrimp and cook for another couple of minutes. Add two handfuls of baby spinach leaves and 2 tablespoons of milk or cream and cook until the spinach has wilted.
Build 'towers' of alternating tortillas and tomato-spinach-shrimp mixture, starting and ending with tortillas.

The Verdict
Uhm, no. I'm not too fond of cooked shrimp as it is (although sometimes it works - check out the other shrimp recipe here), and this combination just didn't work. Also the tomato-spinach-shrimp mixture was too soggy - probably from the milk. Perhaps it would have been better if I'd used cream instead. The only good thing about this recipe were the crisp tortillas - they were very yummy! I may use those for inspiration some other time.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Week 31: Crock-Pot Chicken Curry

The Recipe
1 medium potato, peeled and cubed
1 medium onion, cubed
Water/oil mixture
2 chicken breast halves
1 small can coconut milk (about 1/2 cup)
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 clove garlic, pressed
black pepper
1 bell pepper
Raisins, flaked coconut and peanuts

Place potatoes and onion in a slow cooker. Heat oil mixture in a large skillet; add chicken and cook just until browned. Transfer to slow cooker. In a small bowl, combine coconut milk, curry powder, garlic, salt and pepper; pour over chicken. Cover and cook on LOW for 2 1/2 to 3 hours or until chicken is cooked through. Serve chicken and sauce over cooked brown rice; sprinkle with sliced bell pepper. Garnish with raisins, coconut and peanuts, if desired.

The Verdict
It seems utterly impossible for me to cook anything in a crock-pot that doesn't come out dry and bland. This was no exception, but thankfully it was easily remedied. I cut the chicken up into small pieces and mixed with the sauce, and suddenly the dryness didn't really matter. It was still bland though, until I added extra curry sauce and mango chutney - one I added that, it was DELICIOUS! I'm going to try this recipe again, but next time I'm going to add more curry and perhaps also a bit of chili. And if anybody has any advice on how not to make the chicken so insanely dry, I'm all ears!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Week 30: Honey-Mustard Beef Patties

The Recipe
1 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 pound ground beef
1 1/2 tablespoons diced onion (about 1/4 small onion)
1/8 teaspoon black pepper

In a medium bowl, combine ground beef, honey, mustard, oregano, onion and pepper; mix thoroughly. Divide beef mixture into 1/2-inch thick patties. Heat a skillet over medium heat and cook patties for 7 to 8 minutes, turning once.

The Verdict
I changed this recipe a bit. Originally it said to make 2 tablespoons honey-mustard mixture and then only use 2 teaspoons! I couldn't find anything about what to do with the remaining 4 teaspoons, so I decided to go with the above measurements instead. I only have one word - YUMMY! I loved the sweet-spicy taste of it. I think it would have gone really well with some red-currant jam actually. Definitely something I'm making again - next time making sure that the onion is very finely diced, as I slacked on that this time.

Week 29: Mexican Beef Patties

The Recipe
A pinch of salt teaspoon salt
1/2 pound ground beef
30gr canned diced green chilies
3/4 tablespoon taco seasoning
2 tablespoons shredded cheese

In a large bowl, combine ground beef, green chilies, taco seasoning mix and salt; blend well. Divide mixture into 1/2-inch patties. Coat a skillet with cooking spray over medium heat; add beef patties and cook for 6 minutes per side. Top each patty evenly with cheese and cook for 2 minutes or until burgers are done and cheese has melted.

The Verdict
Since DH was eating this as well, I only used half the amount of chili, as 30grams sounded rather overwhelming - even when talking about canned chilies. Also, I'd forgotten to buy taco seasoning, so I used half-and-half of paprika and basil instead. But even with those alterations it ended up tasting really good, and a nice alternative to the boring plain beef patties.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Week 28: Asian Bow Tie Pasta Salad

The Recipe
125 gr Bow Tie pasta
1/2 tablespoon sesame seeds
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 tablespoon finely chopped fresh gingerroot
1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
3/4 teaspoon low sodium soy sauce
3/4 teaspoon sugar
250 gr cooked chicken breast meat
1 red bell pepper
2 spring onions, thinly sliced
Salt and pepper, to taste

Cook pasta according to package directions; drain and rinse under cold water until cool; drain well. While the pasta cooks, stir sesame seeds in a small dry skillet over medium heat until toasted, about one minute; transfer to a large bowl and whisk in vinegar, mustard, gingerroot, sesame oil, soy sauce and sugar. Thinly slice the chicken and add to the bowl along with the cooked and drained pasta, red bell pepper, and scallions. Season to taste and serve.

The Verdict
I thought 125 gr (1/4 lb) pasta sounded like a ridiculously small amount, so doubled it, and there was still far too much meat in comparison to the rest. Next time I think I'll do 250gr pasta and 125gr meat instead.

As DH isn't too keen on raw ginger root, I served the dressing on the side, which worked fine. It was a nice, cool summer dish, that I'll probably be making again.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Week 27: Red and Green Ravioli

The Recipe
4-500g Ravioli with filling of your choice
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 large green bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1 large onion, cut into thin strips
1-2 garlic, chopped
1 can tomatoes with basil and oregano
1 teaspoon black pepper
150g bacon

Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat and cook bacon until semi-crisp. Add green pepper, onion and garlic; cook for 3 minutes or until vegetables begin to soften. Stir in tomatoes and cook for 3 minutes longer. Stir in pepper; remove from heat. Drain pasta and place in a serving bowl; pour sauce on top and serve immediately.

The Verdict
Very simple and very yummy. Definitely not something I need a recipe for though. It really doesn't get much easier than this!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Week 26: Pasta Italiano

The Recipe
500g whole wheat pasta
225g bacon
500g pork, cut into 1-inch pieces
4 cloves garlic, pressed
4 large tomatoes, chopped
1 large bell pepper, chopped
1dl chicken broth
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon chili
1 1/4 dl grated Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, cook bacon in a wok over high heat until crisp; drain and crumble. Remove from wok. Add garlic and pork to pan drippings and cook, stirring frequently, for about 4 minutes or until pork is no longer pink. Remove pork from the pan and set aside. Add tomatoes, bell pepper, chicken broth and spices to the pan; cook for 3 to 4 minutes, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Return pork to the pan and heat through. Mix with pasta, Parmesan cheese and bacon.

The Verdict
The original recipe actually called for twice as much garlic as I listed here, but I thought 4 cloves was PLENTY, and it would definitely have been too overwhelming if I'd used more, but if you love garlic, go for it :D. I rather liked this dish and would make it again with two alterations:
1) The meat got really, really dry. I'd probably either marinate it first, or use chicken instead.
2) There weren't nearly enough vegetables for my taste. Next time I'll either double the amount of tomatoes and/or bell pepper or add squash/eggplant/mushrooms to the mix.

This recipe generously serves 3 people.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Week 25 - BBQ Pork

The Recipe
500g pork for frying
3/4 dl BBQ sauce

3dl brown rice
1 tbsp paprika
1 can tomatoes
2dl stock

Bring paprika, tomatoes and stock to a boil. Add rice and let it simmer for 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, coat the pork with BBQ sauce and put it in a single layer on a baking tray / baking sheet. Bake at 225C for 10 minutes. Turn it over, and bake for another 8-10 minutes until crisp. Transfer to plate with tissue paper to drain excess fat.

The Verdict
Both DH and I loved it! Very simple, yet not something I'd ever considered making myself, and absolutely delicious. Just make sure to have proper ventilation, as the smell tends to hang around. It's worth it though :)

Monday, June 21, 2010

Week 24: Slow Jambayala

The Recipe
1/3 chopped green bell pepper
1/2 medium chopped onion
4 chopped plum tomatoes
1 'stalk' chopped celery
1 clove garlic, pressed
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
Cayenne pepper
100g smoked sausage, cut into 1-inch cubes
100g ounces boneless skinless chicken breast meat, cut into 1-inch cubes
2/3 cup low sodium beef broth
1 dl brown rice

Cook the brown rice according to the instructions on the package and put aside.

In a slow cooker, combine all ingredients, except rice. Cover and cook on LOW for 3 to 4 hours. Add cooked brown rice; cover and cook on LOW for 20 to 30 minutes.

The Verdict
The sausage was nice, but the chicken pretty non-distinct. Perhaps it would have been better if I'd quickly browned it in a pan first? But that would kinda have defeated the purpose of easy-easy dinner ;)

Other than that I liked it well enough. Crock-pot recipes just tend to be more bland than their stove-top counterparts. This wasn't as bad as some, but the meal did improve majorly once I put chili sauce and feta cheese on top.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Week 23: Beef with ginger and bell peppers

I ended up using pork instead of beef as beef is ridiculously expensive. Seriously, it cost almost twice as much as the pork! I doubt it changed the recipe all that much though.

The Recipe
400g beef cut into strips
1 tbsp oil
3 bell peppers
1 large leak (I didn't have that, so I used squash instead)
2 cloves chopped garlic
1 tbsp finely chopped ginger
2.5dl beef stock
1 tbsp soy sauce
some flour for thickening the sauce.

Cut the peppers in half, remove the seeds and put them cut-side down on some foil on an oven rack. Grill them for about 10 minutes until they are brown on top.
Heat the oil in a wok and cook the meat for 2-3 minutes or until done. Remove from the wok. Cut the bell peppers and leak into bite sized pieces and chop the garlic and ginger. Add it to the wok and cook while stirring for 1-2 minutes. Add stock and soy sauce and cook for 5 minutes. Add flour if a thicker sauce is desired. Add meat and heat through. Serve with wild rice.

The Verdict
Another "I don't need a recipe for this!" recipe. I seem to have acquired a number of those over the years! Guess I'm a better cook now than when I first started collecting these... which is a really good thing ;) It tasted good, and I might definitely make something similar another time, but I don't need to save the recipe.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Week 22: Salsa Chicken

The Recipe
1/2 pound chicken in strips
1 1/2 cup salsa
1/4 cup raisins
1 tbsp honey
1/2 tsp cinnemon
1/4 tsp ground ginger

Cook chicken until done. Mix together the rest, poor over the chicken and let it simmer for 15 minutes.

Serve with couscous.

The Verdict
Extremely easy recipe, but I don't know... it was almost too 'rich' in its taste. I wouldn't call it too hot, because that wasn't the case, but it was definitely a taste that needed to be diluted somewhat. I think I may try to substitute half the salsa for canned tomatoes next time, as I think that may have been the culprit. Otherwise it tasted lovely.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Week 21: Pepper Steak

The Recipe
1/2 pound pork chops, cut in 1/4" strips
1 green pepper in strips
1 onion in slices
1 500g jar spaghetti sauce
1/2 cube beef broth
1 tbsp Worchestershire sauce

In a large wok, heat oil and cook meat until done to your liking. Add peppers and onion and cook 3-5 minutes or until tender.
Stir in pasta sauce, beef cube and Worchestershire sauce and heat to boiling. Reduce heat and let simmer for about 10 minutes.

Serve with pasta and a salad.

The Verdict
Not bad at all, but I'm really not sure I needed a recipe for this! It was good to be reminded that one can make meat sauces without ground meat though, so I guess I did need a recipe after all. I served it with feta cheese on top which added a very nice touch. A nice variation to the usual spaghetti bolognese.

Week 20: Satay Pork with Peanut Sauce

The Recipe
250g pork cut into 1/4" slices

1 tbsp soya sauce
1 clove garlic
2 tsp fresh ginger
1/4 tsp ground chili or 1/2 fresh chili
1/4 tsp cumin
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp sesame seeds
1/2 lime
Mix everything together. Put meat and satay in a bag and shake to coat. Marinate for at least 30 minutes before cooking.

Peanut sauce
1/2 small onion
1 clove garlic
1-1.5 fresh chili
1 tsp oil
2 tbsp peanut butter
1/2 lime
1 tbsp soya sauce
2 tsp sugar

Heat the oil in a small pot and cook onion, garlic and chili for a couple of minutes. Add 1 dl (7 tbsp) water, peanut butter, lime, soya and sugar. Let the sauce simmer for a couple of minutes until it's reduced a bit.

Serve the satay with rice and a nice salad.

The Verdict
Very yummy. DH didn't care much for the peanut sauce, but I loved it, and it was really easy to make, so I may just do that again another day, and then make another sauce for him. Definitely worth a repeat. Oh, and I used chunky peanut butter which turned out to be a good thing. I'm not sure it would have been as good with smooth.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Week 19 - Mediterranean Roasted Chicken

The Recipe
Saute boneless skinless chicken breast halves in a skillet until brown on both sides, remove from pan and put in an oven-proof dish. In the skillet stir-fry garlic, onion, bell pepper and tomatoes until tender. Pour over chicken. Season with black pepper and fresh basil leaves. Cover with aluminum foil. Cook in oven at 200C for half an hour or until chicken is done. Serve with rice.

The Verdict
So boring I couldn't even be bothered typing out the recipe in full. I added chili sauce which did help somewhat, but the chicken was still really, really bland. Not worth a repeat.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Week 18: Eggplant pasta

This week's recipe was a very nice surprise! I'd planned on making chicken satay, but discovered too late that it had to marinate for 3-4 hours, and as I don't get home from work until after 5pm, that just wasn't happening. Instead I found this recipe and thought I might as well give it a try.

The Recipe
1 small eggplant
1/2 can tomatoes
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella (about 1 handful)
2 cloves garlic
2 handful fresh basil
120g durum pasta
1tsp olive oil
salt, pepper

Chop the eggplant up into 1cm cubes and put them in a sieve or a colander, toss with salt and leave for about 30 minutes. Apparently this draws out some of the bitter taste of the eggplant. I have no idea how it would taste if you obit this step though. Meanwhile, boil the pasta according to the instructions on the bag.

In a pan (make sure it's large enough for the eggplants to be in one layer, or you'll get boiled rather than browned eggplant) heat up the olive oil and cook the eggplant, garlic and basil for about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, pasta and mozzarella and let it simmer for a couple of minutes until the mozzarella is melted.

The Verdict
Very yummy! However, either I didn't cook the eggplant long enough, or I ought to have peeled it before starting, because the skin was kinda chewy and not very tasty. Since I was alone I just ate around it, but I'll definitely do that differently next time. Delicious as a vegetarian meal, and the taste combination would work very well with bacon as well. Definitely a keeper! This recipe was a bit much for me, so I think double would be fine for 3 people - especially with a nice salad or some garlic bread on the side.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Week 17: Braised Crock-Pot Chicken

The Recipe
3 chicken breast halves
0.5 tbsp butter
1/4 tsp salt
pinch of pepper
1 clove chopped garlic
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1 bell peppers, sliced
3 spring onions, sliced
1 small onion, sliced in rings
4 tbsp cooking sherry
2 tsp orange juice
6 large green olives, chopped

Plug in your crockpot and turn it to low. Add the butter, chicken and all of the dried spices. Cut the peppers and onion, and chop or mince the garlic, to add to the mix. Top off with the cooking sherry and orange juice. Chop up the green olives, and sprinkle them on top.

Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.

The Verdict
I'm still getting to know my crock-pot and unfortunately find it really difficult to find good recipes for it. Somehow they all end up tasting pretty bland. Unfortunately this was no real exception. It smelled delicious as it was cooking, but didn't really taste of anything. Plus the chicken was dry.

Moving on, I guess.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Week 16: Tomato-Pepper Soup

The Recipe
1 tbsp olive oil
1 can (400g) tomatoes
1 bell pepper
1 small onion
2 cloves of garlic
A handful of fresh basil
Salt, pepper, sugar
8 tbsp cream

Heat the olive oil over low heat. Add chopped onion and garlic and let it cook for 4 minutes. Add bell pepper and toss, add tomatoes and let it simmer for 10 minutes. Add fresh basil and put the soup through a blender, return to pot and add cream. Heat it up but keep it just under boiling, season to taste with salt, pepper and sugar.

The Verdict
Too much work for a pretty average soup. Besides, I tend to prefer chunky soups over creamy ones. My husband liked it though.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Week 15 - Garlic-Chili Shrimp

The Recipe
200 shrimp, defrosted
1 tsp Chili-garlic olive oil
1 bay leaf
3 tbsp white wine
1 bell pepper, chopped
2 lemon slices, 1/4" thick
1/4 tablespoon butter
Salt, Pepper

Sprinkle salt and pepper evenly over shrimp. Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat; add shrimp and bay leaf; cook and stir for 3 minutes. Add bell pepper and cook for another minute. Add wine and lemon to the skillet. Raise heat to medium-high and bring mixture to a simmer; cook about 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Discard bay leaf and lemon. Add butter, stirring until butter melts. Serve shrimp on rice with lemon wedges.

The Verdict
Honestly, I was a bit hesitant about this one, as I'm not usually one for cooked shrimp (I love it cold, but cooked not so much). It was absolutely delicious though! The smell was almost the best part - it smelled lovely exotic and as if I were in an Asian restaurant. There was neither enough garlic nor enough chili though, so I think I'll try to add some red pepper flakes and chopped garlic the next time.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Week 14 - Tex Mex Chili

The Recipe
Two large potatoes
1lb ground pork
salt & pepper
1 onion
1 clove garlic
1 fresh chili
1 red bell pepper
1 can (400g) tomatoes
1 tsp oregano
pinch of cumin
1 can (400g) beans - drained

Bake the potatoes until done.

Heat the oil in a skillet over high-heat, add meat and cook until browned, add salt, pepper, chopped onion and garlic, chopped chili and bell pepper. Let it cook for a couple of minutes. Add tomatoes, spices and the drained beans. Let the chili simmer for 10-15 minutes.

Cut open the potatoes and pour over the Tex Mex chili. Serve with a green salad.

The Verdict
I quite often make nachos with a very similar meat sauce (only using ground beef instead), so it was nothing new in that respect, but I liked the idea of serving it over baked potatoes rather than nachos chips. Not a recipe I'm going to keep, but definitely an idea I'm going to keep.

Week 13 - Tangy Steak Salad

The Recipe
1lb steak or pork
1.5 tbsp dijon mustard
salad greens
1 bell pepper, sliced
2 spring onions, sliced
Fresh basil

Cook the meat in a skillet. When done mix with mustard and fresh basil. Keep warm.
Meanwhile mix together salad greens, bell pepper and spring onions. Add meat. Serve in tortilla wraps.

The Verdict
I had my doubts about the amount of mustard, as it sounded like a LOT. It didn't taste like that much though, so obviously some of the other ingredients must have neutralised it. I'd only label the recipe as so-so though. It was okay, but nothing special.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Week 12 - Red Curry Wok

The Recipe
250g pork in bite size pieces
1 tsp red curry paste or 3 tsp red curry sauce
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 tbsp tomato puree
2dl coconut milk
250 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 bell pepper, cubed
3-4 spring onions, sliced

Get a wok very hot. Put the meat in and let it brown. Depending on the meat you shouldn't need any oil, but keep a look on it and add some if necessary. Once done, add bell pepper, tomatoes and onions and stir fry for a minute or two. Remove from wok.

Add a bit of oil to the wok, and cook garlic and curry paste for 1-2 minutes. Add tomato purree and coconut milk and let it simmer for 5 minutes. Add the rest and heat through.

Serve with rice.

The Verdict
Oh yum! Definitely a keeper. I've discovered that I love things cooked with coconut milk, and this was no exception. I may add a bit more curry sauce next time, because I wouldn't have minded a bit more heat, but it was still absolutely delicious as it was.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Week 11: Spaghetti Puttanesca

The Recipe:
250-300gr spaghetti
1 tbsp olive oil
150gr bacon
2 ripe tomatoes
1 bell pepper
1 onion
2 garlic cloves
A couple of handfuls of fresh lettuce (the recipe called for spinach, I didn't have any, so I used a mix of lettuce and ricola instead - lovely!)
2 tbsp fresh basil
250gr ricotta cheese (or cottage cheese if you can't find ricotta)
Salt and pepper
1 can (14oz) chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato purée (can be omitted)
1 tsp sugar (can be omitted)
Chili according to taste

Boil the pasta according to the package but take it off one minute before time. Drain and set aside.

Cut crosses over the stem of the tomatoes and pour boiling water over them. Let them sit in boiling water for a couple of minutes. This will allow the skin to loosen, and you should be able to peel them without problems.

Finely chop bacon, onion and garlic. Cook in olive oil until the onions are done. This will take 3-5 minutes depending on how much bite you like in your onions.
Chop peeled tomatoes, bell pepper and spinach. Add to the pan and cook until done. That will take another 2-3 minutes.
Take the pan off the heat and add ricotta cheese, basil and salt and pepper according to taste.

Mix spaghetti into the pan and transfer it to an ovenproof dish. Turn in canned tomatoes, tomato puree and sugar. Bake at 180*C for 10 minutes or until it's heated through.

The Verdict
Very, very tasty! It would probably have been even better if I'd added more lettuce actually. I like greenery in my pasta :) Definitely a recipe that'll go into the cookbook to be reused on a later date.

Oh, the recipe called for anchovies instead of bacon. I do NOT like anchovies, but thought this a very fitting (and tasty!) substitute.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Week 10 - Pork Chops Diablo

The Recipe
The recipe I found called for making a thin "pocket" in the side of the pork chop using a sharp knife. However, the pork chops I got hold of were already quite thin, so I didn't want to mess around with that, and instead used a meat hammer (or whatever it's called) to make them even thinner, and instead of stuffing the "pocket" with a mustard-chili mixture, I spread it over the pork chops, folded them in half and used tooth picks to keep them closed. I then sprinkled one side with pepper and cooked them on a hot skillet for a couple of minutes on each side.

Serve with boiled potatoes mixed with balsamico vinegar, green beans and a bit of garlic.

The Verdict
The potatoes were actually a bit boring - I think I either got old potatoes or cooked them for too long. The pork chops turned out really well though! Pork chops tend to get a bit dry when cooking them on a skillet, but the mustard kept them nice and moist. I'll have to experiment some with different 'stuffings' - garlic and salsa would probably be really nice as well, or cheese perhaps... Definitely an idea I'll return to, even if I don't return to the specific recipe.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Week 9: Crock Cooker Cajun Chicken

The Recipe
Heat oil in a skillet; saute chopped onion and garlic for a couple of minutes. Cube chicken and place in bag together with a bit of flour, toss to coat; add to skillet and continue to cook until turkey has browned. Place bite-sized carrots, squash and bell pepper in a slow cooker, top with chicken mixture, add a bit of water to the skillet to get the last bits up and pour into the slow cooker. Add chicken broth, Cajun seasoning, salt and pepper. Cover and cook on LOW for 4 hours. Serve with baked potatoes.

The Verdict
It smelled absolutely delicious while cooking. I think that might actually have been the best thing about this recipe ;-) It tasted nice, although I would have liked the sauce to be a bit thicker and spicier. I think I'll add more Cajun seasoning next time. And perhaps skip the extra water? Our skillet is teflon coated, so there weren't any bits of chicken stuck to it anyway.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Week 8: Pepper Steak Soup

Having some left over roastbeef, I thought this was a good recipe to try out.

The Recipe
Thinly slice pre-cooked beef into 1/4-inch pieces. Sprinkle with pepper and set aside. In a saucepan combine beef broth, wine, tomato sauce and thyme. Bring to a boil then cover and simmer for 10 minutes. In another skillet heat oil and cook onion, bell peppers and garlic for 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add halved cherry tomatoes and cook for another 5 minutes. Add onion/bell peppers mixture to the broth mixture. Warm beef briefly on the hot skillet and add that and any juices to the broth as well. Warm through.

The Verdict
Boring. This was basically just glorified broth. Not that it tasted bad, it just didn't live up to my expectations. I don't mind thin soups, but I do mind soups where the different ingredients haven't been given the time to mix properly. I can definitely think of better way to use left-over roastbeef.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Week 7: Mediterranean Chicken

The Recipe
Cook chicken breast halves. Remove from heat and keep warm. Combine garlic, chicken broth, extra water and brown rice and cook until the rice is almost done. Add tomatoes, zucchini and bell pepper and cook for a few minutes. Add chicken and heat through. Serve with feta cheese and olives.

The Verdict
Very similar to just about every other stir-fry dish I've ever tried, so not something I need a recipe to make. I loved the idea of cooking rice in broth though - hadn't thought about doing that before, and it tasted delicious! That part of the recipe I'll definitely use again.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Week 6: Puff Pastry Roll

The Recipe
1 package puff pastry
1/2 package (~100gr) cream cheese of your choice (I used one with different herbs)
Toppings of your choice (sliced ham, bell pepper, fresh basil, salami, tomatoes, herbs and spices...)

Roll out the puff pastry to a long rectangle, cover with cream cheese and add toppings. Fold up the rectangle so the two long sides meet in the middle. Close it as much as possible. Fold in the ends to close those off as well.

Bake at 200*C for about 45 minutes.

The Verdict
One of the easiest and most delicious recipes I've tried in a long time. Took no time at all to make, was sooooo yummy, and looks fancy enough to serve for guests. Definitely a keeper!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Week 5: Curried Veggies and Rice

The Recipe:
Heat oil in a skillet, add chicken and/or pork in bite sized pieces. Cook while stirring until done. Add bell pepper and stir in a couple of spoonfulls of chicken broth, some curry powder and salt. Add frozen broccoli, cauliflower and carrots. Bring to a boil and cook until vegetables are tender crisp. Stir in raisins and chutney. Serve over rice and sprinkle with peanuts.

The Verdict
I didn't care much for the frozen cauliflower, but other than that it's a decent recipe that could easily be adapted to my tastes. I love anything rice-taffel'ish :) It's not spectacular, but could become a nice comfort dish.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Week 4: Fiesta Avocado Soup

The Recipe
The recipe for this couldn't be easier. Mash up an avocado. Chop up a red chili and mix it into the avocado. Heat up a cup and a half of chicken broth and pour over the mix. Voila.

The Verdict
Not bad, but nothing special either. The tastes didn't mesh well, so basically it tasted no different from how the three ingredients had tasted separately. Forutnately I like all three ingredients, so I enjoyed it, but I prefer when a recipe is greater than the sum of its parts, rather than equal to it.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Week 3: Mexican Chicken Casserole

I'd received this recipe from a friend after asking for suggestions for a potluck. It sounded interesting, so I thought I'd try it out.

The Recipe
Bake 2 chicken breasts until they're done. Cut it into chunks. Crumble nachos chips into a baking dish. Cover with the chicken. Mix together chicken broth, cream of mushroom and chicken soup, green chilies and sour cream and pour on top. Top with more nachos chips and cheese. Bake for 30 minutes until heated through.

The Verdict
Unfortunately much too rich for my tastes. I wasn't too fond of the soggy chips at the bottom, and really missed some more greenery. I think if I were to make it again, I'd only have chips on top, and add heaps of bell pepper to the broth/soup/chili/sour cream mix.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Week 2: Pork Marinara

Yet another recipe from my ever-growing stack of printouts.

The Recipe
Brown diced pork tenderloin in oil and curry. Add red wine vinegar, lemon juice and 2 cans of tomatoes with chilli and herbs. Let it simmer for a couple of minutes. Add chopped onion, garlic and bell pepper and let it simmer for a bit longer. Serve with spaghetti and shredded cheese.

The Verdict
I was actually pleasantly surprised by this recipe. When reading it, it didn't sound all that different from spaghetti bolognese, so I almost gave up on trying it. I'm glad I did though, because while it is very similar, it's a refreshing variation to a well-known recipe and one that I think I might actually prefer. Especially since it uses half as much meat and twice as much tomato sauce... I think there may be a closet vegetarian hiding inside me somewhere.

Another recipe that'll go into my permanent collection.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Week 1: Pepperoni Roll

I tend to print out far too many recipes from the internet. Surely these printouts count as being among my cookbooks as well, right? After all, I need to get those thinned out as well!

The Recipe
Roll out pizza dough, brush it with a mixed-up egg and cover it with spices, pepperoni and a LOT of cheese. Add any other pizza toppings that strike your fancy, but remember you can't build it up too high, as you have to be able to roll it afterwards. Hold the tomato sauce, we'll get back to that later.

Once you've decorated the pizza to your heart's content, roll it up lengthwise, pinching the ends closed. Brush a bit more egg over the seam, and place it seam-down on a baking tray. Brush some more of the egg all over the top of the roll. This will make it turn a lovely golden. Bake it in the oven at 175C/350F for half an hour.

While it's baking, get out your favourite pasta sauce and heat it up. If you're feeling ambitious, add bell pepper, onion and chilli, otherwise just leave it as it is.

Serve the roll in inch-thick slices, spooning the pasta sauce on top.

The Verdict
Basically this just tasted like pizza, so nothing adventurous there. Both my husband and I like pizza though, and this took no longer to make and was a lot easier to serve, so it's being added to my regular repertoire. It's a lot handier for school box lunches as well.

I don't want any more loose paper, so I'm copying it into the one cookbook I hope to limit these printouts to.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Week 0: Spanish Brunch

Week 1 doesn't actually start until tomorrow (January 4th), but I figured I might as well get off to a head start and try out some brunch recipes as they would be very hard to fit in once work starts again. Both of these are taken from "Spanish Cuisine".

Flaming Eggs
The name sounds fascinating, doesn't it? At least I thought so. Basically, you cook up a tomato sauce using canned tomatoes, paste, bell pepper, onion and chilli, pour the sauce into an oven proof dish, make small indentions in the sauce for the eggs, cover each egg with 2 slices of chorizo (or some other salami) and cook it in the oven for 20 minutes. Serve with toast. Quick and easy dish.

Unfortunately also boring. The yolk of the egg was supposed to still be soft, which wasn't the case at all, so obviously 20 minutes was far too much. It's probably yummier if the yolk is still runny.

Also the recipe only calculated with one egg per person which is definitely far too little if nothing else is served. I had to fill up with more toast. I may try it again with certain modifications.

Scrambled Eggs with Squash
No surprises here - it is exactly what the name suggests. Only the name left out the onion, bacon, tomatoes, bell pepper and chilli also added to the scrambled eggs (2 eggs per person). Serve with toast.

Tasted exactly as scrambled eggs with squash, bell pepper, chilli etc. I'd hoped the tastes would 'mesh' somewhat, but that wasn't the case at all. Tasted decent enough, and I was plenty full from the portion allotted me, but not something I need a recipe to make again.

Ah well, at least neither were total disasters, and I got off to a good start with two recipes in one week.

Friday, January 1, 2010

52 Weeks - 52 Recipes

I have far too many cookbooks with recipes I never use. It's time to work my way through them, try the recipes I think sound interesting, and chuck the rest... maybe that way I'll actually have room in my kitchen cupboard again!

So for my New Year's Resolution I've decided to try one new recipe a week. I know one a week doesn't sound like much, but with a busy life that often takes me out of the house for dinner and a somewhat picky husband who prefers the "tried and tested" one a week is all I dare commit myself to... For now anyway ;-) I'll be posting the recipes and results here, with pictures if I remember to take them.