All posts by emilybrock14

Indian Spiced Stew with Chicken and Potatoes

 

Indian-style cooking is something that I really hesitated getting into for a while. Hubby loves it, and I like it a lot, too, and for whatever reason it always seemed really intimidating. Probably because it seems so unlike our Western cuisine. But I am here to tell you that I have had success in the last few months with Indian-style recipes.

It’s not as complicated as it seems. It just requires a long cooking time. I will say, though, that my Indian-inspired cooking has been greatly assisted by my discovery of Garam Masala in my grocery store. This is a spice blend that many recipes call for, and it sits alongside all the other more familiar spices. Once I discovered that, the game was on.

One thing I really appreciate about this recipe is its name. Indian-Spiced Stew with Chicken and Potatoes implies that it is done in an Indian-style without pretending to be authentic. The recipe comes from the blog Seasons and Suppers.ca (is that Canada?).

indian-spiced-stew4
This photo belongs to SeasonsandSuppers.ca

The author recommends serving this dish with fresh naan, a traditional Indian flatbread. I will admit that yes, I do have recipes pinned for making naan, but I’m a one-thing-at-a-time kind of girl, so I just cooked up some Basmati rice and served it over that instead. It was still delicious.

Ratings

Flavor: Five-Stars – The flavor of this dish seemed pretty authentic! It was rich and creamy, heavily spiced and deeply flavorful. Just what I want when I am craving Indian food.

Skill-Level: Moderate – I won’t say this was altogether easy. It wasn’t too difficult, either, but mostly it just takes a long time on the stove. You don’t have to stand over it and watch it most of the time, but it definitely doesn’t fall under “Quick and Easy.” I’m tempted to try it again in my slow cooker to see how it turns out.

Overall: Four-Stars – This dish was really great, and Hubby loved it. The time preparing it compared to delish factor drops it a star for me, though. Still, I would make it again.

Indian stew
Here’s how mine turned out!
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Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ok, so I have a terrible habit of starting things and then not following through. I’m going to go ahead and say that my lapse in posting is not because I haven’t been making food (and even taking pictures!) but my routine got interrupted back in March by going on vacation and then having visitors come. I am nothing if not a slave to routine.

Anyway, despite having made some delicious things and even taken pictures of them, I’m not going to backtrack because I’m not excited about those things anymore. Instead, I really want to share with you my favorite recipe for chocolate chip cookies.

Now, the recipe is actually for soft-baked white chocolate cranberry cookies from SallysBakingAddiction.com, which is also a great recipe. But the first time I made these, I discovered that I had found my version of a perfect cookie base. And trust me, I have tried many, many, many chocolate chip cookie recipes. I spent a few years in college trying and failing at making the most basic of baked goods, the American classic. I was baffled. I used to make chocolate chip cookies at home just fine at home. How was this happening?

Well, I still have no answers to why I failed so often, but I do have a solution to my many and varied failures. These cookies. I will never again bake a different chunk cookie recipe.

By the way, like I said, the recipe is great in the white chocolate cranberry version as given, but to change it to chocolate chips (or M&M’s, or marshmallows, or raisins) just sub in the same amount of chunky goodness as the white chocolate and cranberries.

White-Chocolate-Cranberry-Cookies-3
This photo belongs to Sally’s Baking Addiction.com

They are soft and chewy, with a nice crisp outside. Big and fluffy. Everything I think chocolate chip cookies should be. If you like crunchy chocolate chip cookies, you need to leave.

Ratings

Flavor – Five Stars: Delicious flavor. They stay chewy even after a couple of days (if they last that long!). I promise you will not want to stop eating these.

Skill Level – Low/Moderate: If you’ve ever made cookies from scratch before, you can make these. If you haven’t, I vote that it is time you give it a try. Just follow the directions, you’ll be fine.

Overall – Five Stars: I cannot say this enough. These are my perfect cookie.

choc chip cookies
Mine this time! I used dark chocolate chunks as well as semi-sweet chocolate chips. 

One Pot Ground Beef Stroganoff

When I was a kid, Hamburger Helper was a staple of our household. It was quick and easy and cheap, which was important for my family. My parents were young and both worked, not to mention my mother went back to nursing school when I was a toddler and my brother was a grade schooler. Quick, easy, and cheap were necessary. As we got older, Hamburger Helper appeared less and less regularly, but nevertheless, it holds a special place in my heart that reminds me of home.

As an adult, I will admit that I’ve become a bit bougie. But I am not above admitting that Hamburger Helper is delicious! Still, I don’t buy it because I know it’s crazy high in sodium and other preservatives and I feel guilty when I eat it. But I don’t have to feel guilty when I make this recipe for One Pot Ground Beef Stroganoff from TasteAndTell! It’s basically Hamburger Helper that you make yourself. Best part? It only takes marginally more work than the boxed kind. You still even cook the pasta in the same pot as everything else. Love it.

One-Pot-Ground-Beef-Stroganoff-tasteandtellblog.com-1
This photo belongs to TasteandTellBlog.com

Ratings

Flavor: Four Stars – We loved the hearty chunks of real mushrooms, and the salty beef flavor was so reminiscent of that boxed kind we both remember.

Skill Level: Low – Can you make a box of Hamburger Helper? The only extra step to this was sauteing some mushrooms first to add in at the end.

Overall: Four Stars – Alright, Hubby and I agreed that this was “Pretty Good,” but promptly ate the ENTIRE pan of it for dinner that night, so I guess it was better than “Pretty Good.” It’s quick and easy and not filled with all those preservatives and chemicals like the boxed kind.

Suggestions: The recipe as is calls for four cups of beef broth, but my version turned out really soupy, even after I used some flour as a thickener. Next time I make this, I’ll be cutting the amount of broth down to at least 3 cups, though it’s possible that 2 cups would even be enough.

I also used Greek yogurt instead of sour cream because as I’ve said before, I can’t stomach dairy so well. Greek yogurt is a great substitute for sour cream if you find you can’t do regular dairy but can do yogurt.

Stroganoff
Here’s how mine turned out!

 

Skillet Huevos Rancheros

Alright everyone. If you make one dish from this blog, make this one. Seriously. I love this dish. It’s on the menu once every other month, it seems, which is a big deal in our house since as you can tell, I rarely make the same thing twice. The recipe is for Huevos Rancheros Skillet Eggs by FeastingAtHome.com, but for some reason I always just call these Skillet Huevos.

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This photo belongs to FeastingAtHome.com

The picture from the original blog shows these in cute little individual cast iron skillets, but let’s get real, who actually has multiple tiny cast iron skillets? Not me. I make this in a regular-sized cast iron skillet. If you don’t have a cast iron skillet, well, I highly suggest you get one. Hubby insisted that we start using one, and at first I was hesitant, but now I love it. Still, I make him handle it, usually. They can’t be cleaned with soap, they get crazy hot, and are super heavy. Even so, I love how the food comes out. Anyway, if you don’t have one but still want to make this recipe, you’ll need an oven-safe skillet.

Things I love about this dish:

  1. It’s crazy delicious
  2. It looks really fancy
  3. It’s actually really cheap to make
  4. It feeds a crowd – I love to serve this to friends, and they love to eat it

I do a lot of little variations on the original recipe now that I’ve made this a few times, but specifically I like to use cherry tomatoes instead of regular tomatoes (though that’s mostly because tomatoes are gross and cherry tomatoes are the most tolerable to me). I don’t get all fancy and cook my own heirloom beans as suggested, I just use canned black and pinto beans. I like to throw in extra veggies like zucchini, peppers, mushrooms, or kale. Whatever I’ve got on hand.

The one kind of annoying thing about making this is that it actually requires you to cook the beans/veggies in one skillet, then line the cast iron skillet with tortillas and transfer the bean/veggie mix to the cast iron skillet. But it’s so delicious that I do not care. It’s worth the extra dish.

Ratings

Flavor: Five Stars –  The subtle Mexican spices mixed with delicious egg, cilantro, and lime juice are incredible.

Skill Level: Low – Despite looking so fancy, it’s really pretty easy. Sautee beans and veggies with spices. Line cast iron with tortillas. Dump beans/veggies into cast iron. Crack eggs into little wells you make with a spoon. Bake in oven until eggs are done. Easy peasy.

Overall: Five Stars – This is something Hubby asks for over and over again, and I love it, too. Easy, cheap, and delicious. And any leftovers are good for breakfast the next day, too! Make this, make this, make this!

Skillet Huevos 1
Ungarnished, straight out of the oven
Skillet Huevos 2
This time I had some pico de gallo and avocado yogurt sauce leftover from another recipe, so I garnished with that. So good!!

Cajun Fish Tacos

I don’t know what it is about fish tacos. I only tried them for the first time a few years ago, but ever since then, man, fish tacos are my jam. I am a sucker for fish taco recipes. I feel like I should just go ahead and make fish tacos a category here on my blog because I am always trying new fish taco recipes.

And with a picture as pretty as this one, how could I resist?

Cajun-Fish-Tacos-N2
This photo belongs to CuriousNut.com

This recipe for Cajun Fish Tacos by CuriousNut.com was pretty good! But it’s hard to make bad fish tacos, to be fair. Also, that blog looks pretty amazing and I think I may need to go spend some more time there.

My favorite thing about this recipe was the smooth and creamy avocado yogurt sauce, and Hubby declared after eating this that pico de gallo should be a mainstay in our house and why don’t we make it more. To that effect, I’m making some tomorrow for another recipe.

My only criticism is that the fish was somehow not very flavorful. I used Pacific cod, which I’ve discovered is pretty cheap out here on the west coast, and all the spices used to coat the fish I know to be very flavorful. Still, somehow it didn’t quite come through on the finished dish.

Ratings

Flavor: Four Stars – Fish tacos are delicious and you should eat them. Only gets four stars because I’ve made even more delicious ones myself.

Skill Level: Low/Moderate – It’s not really that difficult, but it does have a lot of different parts. If you’re following the recipe, you have to make the pico de gallo (PSA: If you’re not inclined to do that, you can typically buy some in your produce department), then the avocado yogurt sauce, and then season/cook the fish. Nothing is too difficult, but it just takes some time to do it all. Don’t be scared to cook fish! It’s easier than any other meat. This is just pan-seared on both sides for a couple of minutes.

Overall: Four Stars – This was a good recipe that I can recommend. Tasty and relatively easy.

fish tacos
I never claimed to be a food photographer. But these were still yummy.

Shrimp, Tomato, and Spinach Pasta in Garlic Butter Sauce

So this is actually what Hubby and I had for Valentine’s dinner. That tells you how behind I am! Oops.

In any case, this was a pretty good meal, and seafood is always surprisingly quick and easy to cook. It just seems so fancy. But I tell you truly, this came together in under a half hour.

The recipe is for Shrimp, Tomato, and Spinach Pasta in Garlic Butter Sauce from JuliasAlbum.com. I made it pretty much as is, but since it was Valentine’s Day and Hubby and I are suckers for shellfish, I added some mussels to my version.

shrimp pasta
This photo belongs to JuliasAlbum.com

Ratings

Flavor: Four Stars – Garlicky shrimpy pasta. What’s not to like?

Skill Level: Low – Pretty easy, really, but seafood can be intimidating. I even used frozen mussels in mine because I’m scared of debearding and cleaning them. This comes together really quickly, so have everything prepared before you start. The thing that takes the longest is really boiling the pasta!

Overall: Four Stars – Good flavor, easy prep and cooking.

shrimp mussels pasta
Here’s mine! Yum

Quick enough for a weeknight, fancy enough for a special occasion.

Easy Kale Feta Egg Toast

Hubby and I eat eggs and toast nearly every morning. And I’m some kind of freak who doesn’t really like scrambled eggs all that well, so we eat basted eggs and toast 95% of the time. It’s good, and I like it, but we’ve been getting sick of the usual routine.

This was just the thing we needed to liven up our routine!

Ok, so this recipe for Easy Kale Feta Egg Toast by Well Plated is so good, easy, and quick that we’ve added it to our usual breakfast rotation! And actually I didn’t have any feta the first time so we made it without and I honestly didn’t remember that it had feta in it until I went to write this post. I have some now, so I guess I’ll have to try it! Anyway, it’s good without, if you don’t have any on hand. I’m sure it’s good with it, too, though.

An-easy-healthy-dinner-Kale-Feta-Eggs-Florentine-on-toast
This image belongs to WellPlated.com

We’ve even made this with a few different kinds of greens that we’ve had on hand-kale, Swiss chard, and spinach! Works well with all of them.

It’s really simple but packs a big flavor bang for your buck. Sauteed greens with garlic and crushed pepper flakes make this a zippy way to start the day. You’ll definitely want to make sure you brush well, though, before you step out the door!

Ratings

Flavor: Five Stars – Tender, spicy greens on top of toast with runny yolk? Super yummy.

Skill Level: Low – This is super easy. Toast bread. Toss greens, garlic, crushed red pepper in a hot pan with oil. Top toast with greens once wilted. (Sprinkle on feta if you want). Cook up an egg. Place on top. Devour.

Overall: Five Stars – Easy peasy healthy and delicious breakfast. What more could you want?

Eggs Kale Toast
Om nom nom so yummy!