Sunday, September 11, 2011

Mediterranean Chicken with Lentils and Rice

There is a restaurant in Hell's Kitchen that my boyfriend Keith and I love. It's called Hummus Kitchen. They have amazing falafel and the Moroccan wrap is awesome. Yesterday, we stopped in for lunch after the gym, and the server brought to our attention that since we were ordering two appetizers, if we spent another $1.95, we could get a third. We, of course, said yes, and I opted for the rice and lentils.

It was delicious.

I decided to come home and build dinner around the rice and lentils experience, and I did! It was cheap, easy, and so damn delicious.

Mediterranean Chicken with Lentils and Rice

2 chicken breasts cubed
1/4 bag of lentils
2 tomatoes
8 cloves garlic diced
1 naval orange
1 Belgian endive chopped
1 jalapeno diced
1 bunch cilantro minced
1/2 teaspoon cumin
2 tbsp hot sesame oil
1/4 cup manzanilla olives with juice
1 lb spinach
1 cup jasmine rice
1/4 tsp rosemary
1/4 cup Patis (fish sauce)
1 medium red onion diced
2 ripe avocados

First, put a pot of water on to boil for the lentils. Put the lentils in right away. Add half of the garlic and half of the onion into the water. Once the water begins to boil, cover the lentils and reduce the hit but leave the lid off slightly. Allow to cook for 20-25 minutes. When done drain most of the water and set aside. Once the lentils are done cooking and the water has been drained add half of the cilantro and stir it all together. The heat from the lentils will soften the fresh cilantro.

Cook the rice and set aside.

In a large skillet or wok, heat the sesame oil. Once the oil is hot add the cilantro, onions, jalapenos, and garlic and cook until the onions are translucent. Then add the chicken. Brown the chicken for about 5 minutes on medium high heat and then add all the rest of the ingredients except for the spinach and avocado (don't mix in the lentils and rice...sorry if I am stating the obvious). Cut the orange in half and squeeze the juice from the orange onto the chicken. Keep the mixture stirring and cooking for another 10-12 minutes. Just before the chicken is completely cooked, add the spinach and cook, mixing it all together for another 3-5 minutes.

Serve the chicken over a plate of rice and lentils and voila!

This recipe will feed a family of four (with seconds and thirds) for $12-$15.

PS This was the first time I have ever cooked with endives. I am now a HUGE fan.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Hamburger Helper Fairy Chef Style

I have, a number of times, received emails from folks asking for recipes that take less preparation time, particularly something relatively easy to make to feed hungry children for dinner.

I don't know about all ya'll, but while my Mama did generally make home cooked meals every night, sometimes she cheated and out came the Hamburger Helper. I was partially fond of the Beef Stroganoff.

Unfortunately, the back of the package reads like a high school chemistry lab experiment.

So, tonight, I present to you a similarily quick hamburger meal but better for you (and you can pronounce all of the ingredients without a master's degree in inorganic chemistry).

Hamburger Helper Fairy Chef Style

1 lb ground beef
1/4 red onion chopped
1/2 cup zuchinni sliced
1/2 cup portobello mushrooms or button mushrooms
1/2 cup snow peas
1/2 red bell pepper
1/2 orange or yellow bell pepper
2 packets Goya Sazon con Azafran
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 cloves of garlic minced
2 tbsp olive oil*

First in a large skillet or wok heat the oil. Add the onions and garlic and brown for three minutes. Then add the hamburger along with the soy sauce and the Goya seasoning packets. When the hamburger is about half way done cooking add in the rest of the vegetables. Mix thoroughly until the veggies are al dente.

Serve this over jasmine rice.

Also, to save even more time, most grocery stories have pre-packaged, pre-chopped fresh vegetables. Economically, this makes less sense to buy the veggies this way, but if you are pressed for time they are usually relatively inexpensive (though very expensive for the amount you actually get). The upside is that it cuts out about 10-15 minutes prep time because of the lack of need to do much chopping.

The kids will love this dish.

This recipe will feed four people at a cost of about $9 and is way healthier than Hamburger Helper with about the same prep time.

*Please note...ALWAYS use Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Extra Virgin indicates first pressing and does not involve chemicals in the extraction processing...every level of purity down from extra virgin requires more and more chemicals to extract the oil from the same pressed olives.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Curry Pork with Green Beans

I know it's been a minute ya'll, but I've been busy, and I hope you have all been eating well. I have been busy as Hell for one of the unemployed masses, though my sweetly broke unemployed life ends next week when I return to the work force, at least part time.

So, before I do all that business, I decided to share with you a delicious recipe that is even now perfecting on the stove.

Curry Pork with Green Beans

1 lb pork ribs (if bone is in, cut meat from bone into 1" pieces)*
1/2 yellow onion chopped
2 jalapenos chopped
2 cloves garlic smashed and chopped
1 cup fresh green beans
1 packet Goya Sazon with Azafran
2 tbsp patis (fish sauce)
1/4 cup soy sauce
2-3 tbsp curry powder
1 tbsp olive oil

First, in a wok, heat the olive oil. Add in the onions, garlic, and jalapenos. Sautee them together for about 3-4 minutes until the garlic starts to brown and the onions are translucent.

Next, add in the pork. Sautee this all together for a couple of minutes until the pork starts to brown. Then add in the rest of the ingredients except the green beans.

Cook this all together for about 10-12 minutes on high heat. You want the pork to be almost cooked before you add in the green beans. Throw the green beans into the wok and sautee for another five minutes or so.

Remove from heat and serve over jasmine rice.

This recipe will run you about $8 and will happily feed 2-4 people.


If you buy the ribs with the bone DON'T WASTE THE MEAT THAT IS LEFT ON THE BONE! But that shiz in a pot of water, add soy sauce, and cook those bones and gnaw the meat off of them.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Chicken and Peppers Stew

Some like it hot! Lord knows I do. And this multi-layered flavored stew is going to start out sweet and end with fire on your tongue...but the kind of fire that keeps you dipping back into the pot. The subtle Caribbean flavors melded with a touch of the Phillipines and a dash of La France....makes me want to say Salamat Po Gracias Adios Bon vie bon!

Pepper Chicken Stew

1 whole chicken cut up
1 Poblano chili pepper sliced
3 cherry chili peppers diced
2 jalapeno peppers diced
1 Sweet Red Bell Pepper sliced
1 tbsp sliced fresh ginger
1/2 large red onion diced
1/2 cup diced basil
4 to 6 red potatoes cubed
4 cups red wine
2 cups green beans
4 limes
Dash of red wine vinegar

The lovely thing about stews is that they are 1) delicious and 2) easy to make. First, in just a little bit of olive oil, sautee the ginger, onions, and hot peppers for about three minutes. This unlocks their flavors and sets the tone for the rest of the dish. Once this is done add all of the rest of the ingredients to the pot.

Cook on high heat until the stew starts to simmer, and then cover it, reduce the heat to low, and let it stew for an hour to an hour and a half. The longer you can resist the pot, the better it is going to taste.

Serve it as a stand alone dish or with rice. This pot of stew will feed 10 people at one time or a family of four for several meals. The entire cost of this meal is $10-$12 depending on the price of the chicken.