Sunday, January 27, 2013

Chicken and Eggplant Curry

I realize I just posted two other curry recipes, but I think you'll forgive me if you try this recipe!   The picture doesn't even come close to doing it justice... this chicken and eggplant curry is so delicious you’ll want to drink the sauce, seriously.  I based this on a recipe from Crockpot365 (great resource!) and adapted it a bit to suit our taste.  I highly recommend it.  This is a great meal to make in a huge quantity if you have a roaster oven.  We made this on Saturday and it should last us all week.  It's delicious served with oven roasted cauliflower or broccoli, or over spinach.  I've also added sweet potatoes to it before (add peeled and chopped sweet potatoes 2 hours after you put the other ingredients in the crockpot) and loved that combination as well!  

Chicken and Eggplant Curry (in a 20 quart roaster oven; makes 15-20 servings)

3- 2.5 lb bags frozen boneless, skinless chicken thighs
3- 15 oz. cans full fat coconut milk
2- 15 oz. cans fire roasted tomatoes
2- 5 oz. cans tomato paste
2 onions, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 large eggplants, peeled and chopped into large pieces
6 T curry power
3 tsp ground coriander
3 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground ginger
A few shakes Frank’s Red Hot or Tobasco

Combine everything in a 20 quart roaster oven.  Cook at 250 degrees for 3 hours, then 200 degrees for 4-6 hours more.  Stir occasionally.  Enjoy the delicious smell that will fill your kitchen (or entire house) as the curry cooks… yum!

Chicken and Eggplant Curry (in a 5 or 7 quart crockpot; makes 5-6 servings)

1- 2.5 lb. bag frozen boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1- 15 oz. can full fat coconut milk
1- 15 oz. can fire roasted tomatoes, with the juice
1- 6 oz. can tomato paste
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 eggplant, peeled and chopped into large pieces
2 T curry powder
1 tsp ground coriander
¼ tsp ground ginger
A few shakes Frank’s Red Hot or Tobasco

Combine everything in a crockpot.  Cook on low for 9 hours.  Stir occasionally as it cooks.  Enjoy!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Curry Chicken Salad

While shopping at Earth Fare the other day, I noticed a curry chicken salad in the deli case and couldn’t help but try it.  It was so good that I instantly knew I had to try to recreate it at home!  This is my version of what I had there.  The Earth Fare version had agave and raisins in it as well, but I chose not to add those and liked it just as much!  I ate it for lunch today mixed with broccoli slaw, which was a crunchy and delicious combination! 

Curry Chicken Salad

2.5-3 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, baked (I used 1 bag of trader joe’s frozen chicken breasts, sprinkled with curry powder and baked at 400 degrees for 40 min.) and chopped into small pieces
4 stalks celery, diced
6 green onions, diced
1 large or 2 small granny smith apples, diced
½ c raw cashews, chopped
1 recipe olive oil mayonnaise (see below) + 3 T curry powder, 1 tsp ground ginger, ½ tsp garlic powder (mix the spices into the mayonnaise while it is still in the food processor)
Lots of freshly ground black pepper
¼ tsp coarse salt

Combine chopped chicken, diced celery, diced green onion, diced apple, cashews, mayonnaise, pepper, and salt.  Stir until everything is mixed together. Refrigerate for up to 4 days.  Makes 4 large or 6-8 small servings. 

Olive oil mayonnaise
2 eggs at room temperature
2 T lemon juice
½ tsp mustard powder
¾ c extra virgin olive oil
¼ tsp salt

In food processor, blend eggs, olive oil, lemon juice, and mustard powder until frothy (about 30 seconds).  Continue to blend the mixture as you slowly drip the olive oil in, drop by drop (through the drip hole in the top of the food processor), until you’ve added about ¼ c.  Continue blending and pour the rest of the olive oil into the container on the top of the food processor which will slowly let it drip into the mayonnaise.  Blend until the mayonnaise thickens a bit.  It won’t be the consistency of jarred mayonnaise but it should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. 

*Update 6/23/13: I have been using a slightly different recipe and technique lately to make my mayonnaise.  I have found that the fresh lemon juice and light olive oil are key to making the mayonnaise thick and creamy.  Below is the recipe I am currently using:

1 egg at room temperature
1 1/2 T FRESH lemon juice
1/2 tsp dried mustard powder
1/2 c LIGHT olive oil
1/4 tsp salt 

Blend egg, lemon juice, mustard powder with IMMERSION BLENDER until frothy.  Then slowly, drop by drop, add the olive oil as you continue to blend.  Add oil slowly until it is all added, blending the whole time.  Continue to blend after you've added all of the oil until the mayonnaise has thickened, coating the head of the immersion blender.  

Curry Meatballs

I attempted making meatballs a few weeks ago and they turned out absolutely terrible.  I think they were too wet and didn’t have enough binding to hold them together.  Plus I tried to make them in the crockpot without browning them first… big mistake.  Since then I have made this curry meatball recipe (originally from Paleomg) twice, once with ground turkey and once with ground beef.  The turkey ones were just ok.  The turkey didn’t hold together very well and resulted in meatballs that fell apart quite a bit.  The beef version was perfect!  I couldn’t believe how well they held together.  I think one thing that helped was making sure the beef was very cold.

If you don’t have a 14” skillet, you will want to halve this recipe.  Two pounds of meat fits about perfectly into a 14” skillet, so if you’re going to use a small skillet, just make 1 lb of meat.  You could still make the same amount of sauce though, because it is delicious!  More sauce would definitely not be a bad thing.  If you enjoy curry, you will definitely love these meatballs!

Curry Meatballs

Originally from Paleomg (ratios adjusted)

2 lb. grass fed beef
1 onion, diced
2/3 c almond meal
2 eggs
4 tsp curry powder
4 tsp garam masala (or use the recipe below)
1 tsp ginger
Salt and pepper
Coconut oil (1-2 T) or extra virgin olive oil

1 can full fat coconut milk
1 c beef stock (I used giant eagle market district brand)
1 onion, diced
8 tsp curry powder
4 tsp garam masala (or use the recipe below)
2 tsp ground ginger

1. Mix ground beef with all other meatball ingredients.
2. In a small bowl, stir together coconut milk, beef stock, diced onion, curry powder, garam masala and ginger (sauce ingredients) so it’s ready when you need to add it to the meatballs.
3. Shape meatballs into golf ball sized balls.  They should stick together well.
4.  In a 14" skillet (one that can fit all of the meatballs; if you don’t have a skillet this large, brown the meatballs in 2 batches or halve the recipe), add coconut oil then diced onion.  Brown onion for about 1 minute then add meatballs.  Let meatballs brown for a few minutes on the bottom side, then turn them with tongs to let the other side get browned.  This took about 15 minutes for me.  The meatballs don’t need to be cooked all the way through because they will continue to cook once you add the sauce.
5. Pour sauce into the skillet and move meatballs around so they are coated in the sauce.
6. Cover the skillet and let meatballs and sauce thicken until they meatballs are cooked all the way through.  This should take about 5 minutes.
7. This is delicious served with roasted spaghetti squash! Makes about 8 servings. 

Homemade Garam Masala (makes ¼ c- I just split it between the meatballs and the sauce in this recipe)
Mix together:
1 T ground cumin
1 ½ tsp ground coriander
1 ½ tsp ground cardamom
1 ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp cloves
½ tsp nutmeg

Monday, January 14, 2013

Greek Salad

If you know me you probably wouldn't believe that I used to hate all vegetables except for cooked broccoli.  Well, the way I eat now couldn't be further from that!  Part of my turn around actually happened in college when I studied abroad in Greece.  I started trying new vegetables and discovered that I loved them!  I really enjoyed the food I ate in Greece, especially the fresh fruit and vegetables I was able to get from the street market.   This is my favorite version of Greek salad, which was a dish I ate almost every day there.  If you eat cheese, it's also delicious with some feta!  Today I ate it mixed with diced chicken, avocado, and spinach- a great lunch!

Greek Salad

1 whole seedless cucumber, cut into coins then quartered
2 green peppers, diced
4 tomatoes, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
juice of 1 lemon
a few swirls of extra virgin olive oil
lots of oregano
a few shakes of salt
a few grinds of freshly ground black pepper

Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl, stir to get all of the veggies covered in the juice, oil, and spices, and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.  Makes 6-8 large servings.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Banana Brown Rice Pancakes

I had brown rice flour and potato starch leftover from a (failed) sweet potato pierogi recipe we tried a while ago, so as I looked for a way to use these ingredients I found a pancake recipe on the side of a Bob's Red Mill coconut flour bag.  I adapted it to create these yummy pancakes!  They're thick, doughy, and just slightly sweet.  (If you like light and fluffy pancakes, these are probably not for you).  If you use chia seeds they have a surprise little crunch as well.  I absolutely love these pancakes!  They freeze extremely well so don't be afraid to make a whole batch (which makes 16 pancakes).  Just reheat for about 30 seconds in the microwave.  

Banana Brown Rice Pancakes

Adapted from Bob's Red Mill

1 c brown rice flour (Bob's Red Mill)
1/3 c coconut flour (Bob's Red Mill)
2 T potato starch (Bob's Red Mill) 
1 T baking powder
1 T coconut sugar
1 T cinnamon
2 mashed, ripe bananas
1 1/2 c canned coconut milk OR 1 1/2 c whole grass fed milk (Snowville Creamery)
2 T coconut oil OR grass fed butter, melted
1 T chia seed + 3 T water OR 2 eggs (if using chia, mix together chia and water in a small bowl and let sit for 15 minutes, or until it forms somewhat of a gel)
extra coconut oil or grass fed butter for the skillet

Mix together the brown rice flour, coconut flour, potato starch, baking powder, coconut sugar, and cinnamon in a large bowl.  Then mix bananas, milk, oil/butter, and chia seeds/eggs in a medium bowl.  Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until everything is well combined.
Heat a few tablespoons of coconut oil or butter in a large skillet over medium heat.  Once the pan is hot, drop batter by large scoopfuls (about 1/4 cup) onto the pan and spread the batter evenly into a flatter circle. Cook for a few minutes on one side, then flip and continue cooking for a few more minutes.  Makes about 16 pancakes.  

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Rem's Chili, Two Ways

Today I bring you two chili recipes that are very easy and make a lot of food.  Version 1 is a more traditional meat and bean chili.  Version 2 is a paleo meat, sweet potato, and mushroom chili.  Both are delicious and use the same set of spices. 

Rem created the meat and bean version when he was living alone in his apartment.  He would make one pot to last him the whole week!  Now it doesn’t last us quite as long, but still makes a whole lot of chili.  It’s great for serving a crowd, too.  

We created the meat, sweet potato and mushroom version a few weeks ago because I was craving a bean-less chili.  I like beans but try not to eat them very often because they don't agree with me.  I LOVED this bean-less version and have been craving it ever since.  I like to serve it on top of spinach, so the hot soup wilts the spinach a bit.  Yum!

Both chilis are pretty spicy, so if you don’t like heat, leave out the serranos, the jalapenos, the cayenne pepper, or some combination of those hot ingredients.  If you love heat, definitely add all three!  An important tip when working with hot peppers like serranos: use rubber gloves or some type of covering over your hands before you work with them!!!!  The oils from the hot pepper can cause an extremely uncomfortable burning sensation on any part of your body they come in contact with. (Also, keep the gloves on as you wash the knife and cutting board that you used to chop the serranos.  Or you could just leave the serranos out if you don't want to deal with the hassle).  The first time I chopped serranos, I did not know this tip and my hands literally burned for 24 hours afterward.  I looked online and tried several remedies for relieving the burning sensation, but nothing worked.  I could hardly fall asleep that night my hands burned so bad!  So, don't make the same mistake I did.  Seriously.  It hurts.  Wear gloves. 

The spice mixture is adapted from several different recipes Rem found online.  It is cheaper, easier, and has no questionable ingredients like some chili seasoning packets you can buy at the store.  I know spices can be very expensive, so here are some secrets to finding inexpensive ones:
-At Giant Eagle, there is a section in the "Mexican" aisle with BADIA brand spices.  You can find garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, and several other spices from this brand.  They are always at least half as expensive as the McCormick and other name brand spices.  
-Kroger has Kroger brand $1.00 spices, including garlic powder, chili powder, oregano, cinnamon, and several others.
-Sam's Club sells HUGE containers of spices like chili powder, garlic powder, cinnamon, and several others.  We have started buying those 3 spices at Sam's because we use them all the time and are sure to go through that whole container before it goes bad. 

Let me know if you try either version of these chilis, or share your own chili recipe in the comments section!  I would love to know what you like to put in your chili! 

Rem’s Chili (Meat and Bean Version)

1 lb. grass fed ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
2-15 oz. cans organic pinto beans, drained and rinsed
2-15 oz. cans organic black beans, drained and rinsed
2-15 oz. cans organic dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1-64 oz. bottle tomato juice (they make a version in a plastic bottle at Kroger and Giant Eagle; make sure it's just plain tomato juice, no added ingredients)
Handful of jarred jalapenos, chopped
1-32 oz. can organic diced tomatoes, with the juice
6-8 serrano chiles, diced with the seeds in (for less heat, discard the membrane and the seeds and just use the outer part of the chiles)

Spice mix:
3 T chili powder
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp salt (we use coarse ground salt)
2 tsp pepper

In a large stock pot, brown the ground beef with the onion.  Dump in all other ingredients.  Bring to a simmer, then turn to low and simmer for at least 30 minutes.  Stir occasionally during this time. You can certainly cook it longer!  The long it cooks, the more flavor will develop, but it is delicious even after just 30 minutes.  Alternatively, you could brown the meat and onion, then dump everything (including the meat and onion) into a crockpot and cook on low for however long you want.  At that point you’re just heating everything until it’s nice and hot.  Makes... a lot! (at least 10 servings)

Rem’s Chili (Paleo Version, with sweet potatoes and mushrooms)

1 lb. grass fed ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
2 lb. sliced mushrooms
2-3 lb. sweet potatoes, skin on, cubed
1-64 oz. bottle tomato juice (they make a version in a plastic bottle at Kroger and Giant Eagle; make sure it’s just plain tomato juice, no added ingredients)
Handful of jarred jalapenos, chopped
1-32 oz. can organic diced tomatoes, with the juice
6-8 serrano chiles, diced with the seeds in (for less heat, discard the membrane and the seeds and just use the outer part of the chiles)

Spice mix:
3 T chili powder
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp salt (we use coarse ground salt)
2 tsp pepper

In a large stock pot, brown the ground beef and onion.  Add mushrooms and cook until mushrooms have some color.  Dump in all of the other ingredients.  Bring to a simmer then turn to low and simmer until sweet potatoes are soft and cooked to your desired doneness (just test them occasionally during the cooking process).  To speed up the cooking process, you can microwave the sweet potato pieces before putting them in the chili so they’re already a bit soft.  Makes... a lot! (at least 10 servings)