Saturday Brunch: Grilled Cheese with Carmelized Onions and Bacon from “The Stores”

image

Ms. Foodie has been a travelin’ fool lately, and that means the kitchen Stores have gotten waaay low. But, ever resourceful, Ms. Foodie found something to start off my and Mr. Foodie’s day. With the help of Potato Bread, some Cheddar-Jack blend shredded cheese, some bacon I had stashed in the freezer (defrosted, of course), and a bit of carmelized onions, we had our brunch!

Mr. Foodie gets to go to a game, and Ms. Foodie plans to get in her Yoga later this afternoon, so this will just keep the energy flowing until I can scrounge through The Stores for dinner.

Happy Saturday!

Quickie Meals: Honey Sriracha Chicken with Jasmine Rice, Sweet Corn and Spinach

wpid-20140428_190831.jpg

Honey-Sriracha Chicken with Jasmine Rice, Sweet Corn and Spinach

While Ms. Foodie loves to mount elaborate meals from time-to-time, for the most part, I depend a great deal on Kitchen Cabinet Cooking: what’s in the Store (my cabinet/fridge), and what can be made quickly.

This meal has several quick and dirty components:

  • Chicken Thighs: The easiest part of the Chicken to grill and bake, because thighs they require so little maintenance, while still retaining their moisture and flavor. You can cook eight chicken thighs in a 400 degree oven in as little as 45 minutes.
  • Frozen Vegetables: Look, I grew up in the Midwest, and fresh vegetables were only possible in the late Spring and the Summer—or you paid a lot of money for shipped produce which didn’t retain half the nutrients. Frozen vegetables, especially the flash frozen variety we find today, retain much of the nutrients of their fresh counterpart, and they make for an easy meal accompaniment.
  • Pre-cooked sides: Ms. Foodie adores her Rice Cooker, and when I cook rice, I always make an extra cup or two. Cooked rice refrigerates for up to five days; so that means you can focus on the meat or veggie part of your meal, and simply heat up or nuke the rice to go along with it.

Thanks to this extremely easy recipe from Healthy. Delicious., frozen Spinach and Sweet Corn, and pre-cooked Jasmine Rice, Ms. Foodie was able to crank out dinner in less than an hour.

When you have so many things to do, wherever you can save time makes a huge difference.

Honey + Sriracha Chicken.

 

What’s for Dinner: Salmon Stir Fry in Sweet Chili Sauce

In a quest to find different things to do with Salmon fillet, Ms. Foodie decided to try a stir fry. After combing a few recipes, and coming up empty, Ms. Foodie decided to play around with what was in the Store.

After foraging in the refrigerator, I discovered Mushrooms, Baby Carrots, Snow Peas, and Kale. Ms. Foodie chopped those up, along with Onions and Garlic, then sauteed the lot in a base of Sesame Oil and dried Basil. Ms. Foodie then chopped up the Salmon fillet, and added it to the veggie mix. Then I added a tablespoon or so of Soy Sauce, and a cup of Sweet Chili Sauce to complete the transformation.

Served over a bed of Jasmine Rice, this quickie meal was just the ticket!

Creamy Salmon Soup with Lemon and Lime

Happy Valentine’s Day!

For our Valentine dinner, Ms. Foodie was searching for something different to make with some Salmon fillets than the typical grill or broil. We’ve been having some nippy nights in beautiful Los Angeles, so a soup or a stew seemed like the perfect choice.

But, my troll of the Internet rendered recipes that had too many ingredients, or that would just take too long–you know Ms. Foodie–I’m big on Kitchen Cabinet Cooking–using what’s in store. So in typical Foodie fashion, I came up with my own recipe!

I sauteed the Salmon in Olive Oil with Lemon and Lime Juice, using light, but flavorful spices like Thyme, Celery Salt, Parsley, and Rosemary. Once the Salmon was cooked, I removed the skin, and broke up the Salmon into chunks.

After melting 4 tablespoons of butter in a corner of the pot, I mixed that in with crushed Garlic, chopped Onion, Telecherry Pepper, diced Potatoes, Basil, and a bit more Celery Salt, Lemon and Lime.

Some more saute time to meld the flavors, and then the final piece: 12 ounces of Evaporated Milk and one cup Milk to make the creamy base.

Thirty minutes on low heat to cook the potatoes, and the deed was done!

My friend Brigette contributed to our meal with a crusty loaf of homemade bread–Ms. Foodie is feeling the love, all the way down to her tummy!

Rainy Day Cookies and Stew–necessarily, in that order!

"Raining" courtesy of Peter Griffin/Public Domain Pictures.net

So we are experiencing our first rain of the season here in Los Angeles. Save for venturing out for a Yoga class, Ms. Foodie is fortunate enough to be ensconced at home with her two furry babies, with visions of culinary delights dancing in her head.

The afternoon started with test-driving a recipe for Almond Butter Cookies from a blog called Good Life Eats. Author Katie Goodman does some killer desserts, and she has some great Holiday offerings that Ms. Foodie plans to try as that Season draws near.

Ms. Goodman gives some great information about an Almond Butter called “Barney Butter“, that is Peanut free. Many nut butter manufacturers still use the same processing plant to do Peanut products along with the others, so if you have a Peanut allergy, even trace amounts can be dangerous. Thankfully, me and Mr. Foodie do not–we just enjoy the smooth taste of Almond Butter. Almond Butter is also easier on the digestion.

Ms. Foodie’s personal choice is Trader Joe’s Almond Butter with Flaxseed Oil. It made the cookie mixture a bit less firm when forming it into balls, but oh, what melt-in-your-mouth delight! Chased with a glass of cold milk, it was a perfect slice of yummy!

And what’s a rainy day without some nice, hearty stew? After finding uninspiring offerings on the food blogs, Ms. Foodie did her own thing with stuff in the Store. Kitchen-Cabinet Cooking at it’s finest! Two leftover lemon Chicken Breasts, a cup of mixed vegetables, Potato Gnocchi, one can of Cream of Mushroom and Garlic soup, a half cup of Sour Cream, and a tablespoon of Coconut Oil.

I threw it all in a Crock Pot, set it to low, and left the ingredients to meld.  Stews and soups always bring such lovely smells to the home!

Didn’t cancel out the Almond Butter cookies though… good thing the batch made three dozen! Mr. Foodie is doing the Happy Dance.

Adventures with Coconut Milk…

It’s always an adventure when I’m in the kitchen! Ms. Foodie had a senior moment (yes, I’m near that age…) and tried to drink Coconut Milk, assuming it was the same as Coconut Water. Hmm…. right. I’m sure you know how well that went.

So what else does one do but find a recipe in which to use it? Coconut Milk doesn’ t have a long shelf-life once opened; so I combed the Internet to find a recipe to my liking.

The closest I came to this was a Brazilian Chicken with Coconut recipe on AllRecipes.com, but in Ms. Foodie fashion, I followed the parts I wanted and modified the rest.

I wasn’t interested in the overabundance of heat, so I kept the Cayenne and skipped the Jalapenos. I also wanted to lower the acidity, thus, the Tomatoes were discarded. Then I increased the Tumeric, Cumin, Coriander and Cayenne to two teaspoons, and added in equal parts of Cilantro. This wonderful potpourri of spices was used to coat the Chicken Breasts (I used six), which were then cooked in Olive Oil.

Finally, the recipe calls for sauteing chopped Onions, Garlic, Ginger, and Tomatoes (which I eliminated), in Olive Oil, combine the Coconut Milk with these, and pour this mix over the Chicken. This dish is way too flavorful to waste dipping sauce over it–Ms. Foodie prefers her chicken saturated. So, I placed the chicken pieces on top of the Onions, Garlic, and Ginger, then poured the Coconut Milk over everything.

I also had some Green Beans in the store, so I chopped those up and sprinkled them on top of the mix.

After simmering for 15 minutes (no longer, otherwise the cream separates from the water and it’s not pretty), my Coconut Milk dish was served up over Basmati Rice.

Any ideas for a name for this Patootie modification?

What’s for Dinner?: Cheesy Catfish Chowder!

Ms. Foodie wanted something quick and dirty for dinner, that didn’t involve turning on a stove. AllRecipes.com came to rescue!

This Cheesy Catfish Chowder was so simple, and didn’t require anything fancy in terms of ingredients–I already had most everything in the store.

Being Ms. Foodie, I did my variations and substitutions: Water Chestnuts to replace the crunch of the Celery, and cooling spices like Tarragon, Cilantro and Thyme, to supplement the Celery Salt and Pepper. I also substituted the Cheddar with Colby-Jack and Provolone.

In less than an hour, dinner is served, along with some crusty French Bread and a glass of Tolosa Chardonnay.

Mmmmm….

More fun with Chobani!

So Ms. Foodie made good on her promise to whip up a recipe using Chobani Greek Yogurt. I took 6 oz. of the plain flavor and made a zesty marinade for our chicken breasts last night!

It’s only me and Mr. Foodie, so I used the six ounce size of the yogurt to cover two breasts, and even had some leftover marinade after coating the chicken. But, if you use more breasts, you can double, triple, quadruple the recipe–you decide…

I threw in three teaspoons of Olive Oil, 3/4 teaspoon of Ground Ginger and Cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon of Thyme, 1/2 teaspoon of Garlic Powder, 1/2 teaspoon of Minced Onion, 1/4 teaspoon of Rosemary, and a 1/2 cup of Lime Juice.  After mixing all the ingredients into the yogurt, I used it to coat the breasts on both sides, then let them sit in the fridge for 20 minutes while warming up the broiler.

At 500 degrees, the chicken flash cooks, but the lovely yogurt coating holds in all the flavor–no dry breasts on this watch.  Lots of taste with a bit of zing!

But here’s the best part: I refrigerated the leftover yogurt marinade and stirred it into eggs this morning to make myself a Ms. Foodie Omelette.

This is back to pure Kitchen Cabinet Cooking, because everything was already in the store: two eggs, some leftover roasted turkey breast, and Roma tomatoes.  And with all the flavors packed into the yogurt, who has to season?

I also had some potato salad with dill in the fridge, so it accompanied the Omelette, along with Sourdough toast.

Mmmm Good!

Chicken Pot Pie–the ultimate comfort food

So the Holidays are coming to a close, but it’s still winter, and Ms. Foodie is still needing some comfort and joy!

Chicken pot pies were always my favorite meal as a child, and they are easy to make with ingredients in the store, or quickly bought.  What better way to not only get rid of some of my leftovers, but create a meal that is filling and satisfying.

I had a couple of roast chicken carcasses leftover from my festivities, so I opted to use those.  Otherwise, you can buy cubed chicken breast, or whatever chicken meat you prefer.  Saves you time too, but you know me–love the process!  I also like the double-crust method, so purchase two shells if that is also your bent.

I threw both chickens in a pot, chopped up about 1/2 cup of yellow onion, and stew it on low until the meat falls off the bones.  I sifted the bones and transferred the chicken and a cup of the stock to a skillet.

In another skillet, I sautéed about a 1/2 cup of mushrooms and 1/2 cup of celery in 2 tablespoons butter.  I transferred this to the chicken and stock skillet, along with chunky organic carrots, and organic green peas.  I added about a 1/4 cup of whipping cream and 1/2 cup of whole milk, then seasoned the mix with Thyme, Pepper, Sea Salt and Rosemary to taste.  Finally, I added about 1/3 cup of flour to thicken the mixture, covered the skillet and let it simmer for 25 minutes.

While the mixture was doing its ruminating, I prepped a 9 x 13 pan with nonstick spray, then spread the crust, covering the bottom and sides of the pan. After poking a few holes, I placed it in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes in order to crisp the crust and keep it from turning gummy during cooking.

I transferred the cooked mixture into to the pre-cooked crust, filling it to the top, then took the second pie crust and covered the mixture to complete the pie!

30-35 minutes in that same 350 degree oven is all that’s needed.  Before you know it, a perfect (and yummy) Chicken Pot Pie is born!