Sweet Potato and Red Lentil Curry

I never regret letting the crock-pot handle dinner. This crock-pot recipe requires no pre-cooking and you simply dump the ingredients in the slow cooker and let it do it’s thing.

And just because it’s “meatless” doesn’t mean it’s flavorless.  In fact, this curry is packed with flavor thanks to Thai red curry paste, garam masala, fresh ginger and turmeric.  By the way, turmeric is FULL of health benefits and we all should be eating more of it.  The creaminess comes from coconut milk that is added after the curry is finished cooking.  I’ve never cooked with red lentils before (gasp!) but I found that they almost “melted” into the curry and they weren’t detectable at all.

The curry is served over rice along with quick pickled red onions and cilantro for freshness.  Don’t leave the toppings off – they add life to a meal that’s literally cooked all day long.

curry

And you’ll have lots and lots of leftovers.  The recipe serves 8, so either invite some friends over or plan to eat delicious curry for lunch throughout the week.

Now if only we could teach the crock-pot to clean up the kitchen…

 

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Sweet Potato and White Bean Soup

October is here and I’m officially ready for some fall weather.  I’ve come to terms with the fact that my favorite season has come to and end but I could do without any more sunburns (yes, my arms fried at the football game on Saturday).  In an attempt to lure fall to Eastern NC, I brought fall to the kitchen last night.

Sweet Potato and White Bean Soup not only has all the flavors of fall (without pumpkin) but it’s also incredibly comforting.  Sweet potatoes and white beans bulk up the soup and make it protein packed and filling while also being vegetarian.  The flavor comes from sautéed red onion, garlic and sage.  A little milk makes it super creamy.  Once blended, each bowl is topped with sweet, tart, and crunchy apples (Golden Delicious apples are my fav right now) and a dollop of Greek yogurt.

sweetpotatosoup

Now if only we could get our crisp, cool weather to stay past 9am.

Sweet-and-Sour Sesame Bok Choy with Pork

This is an example of a recipe that I picked simply to use up ingredients in the kitchen but in the end turned out to be so incredibly delicious that I plan on saving the recipe for another day.  The recipe is a great use for leftover ground pork from the meatballs that I made a few weeks ago.

The only ingredients I didn’t have on hand was bok choy and carrots (I bought shredded carrots to make the dinner come together even faster).  I also didn’t have any “Chinese hot mustard” but it turns out to be incredibly simple to make at home.  Simply whisk together 1/4 cup dry mustard, 3 tablespoons water and 1/8 teaspoon white pepper.  Who knew?!?

Be sure to prep all your ingredients in advance.  Because once you start cooking, dinner will be ready in under 10 minutes.  This is seriously a 20 minute dinner.

bokchoypork

I loved the sweetness and subtle spiciness of this dish.  I seriously can’t believe this was a “I guess I’ll make this” decision.  It’s so good!

And be sure to add chopsticks for good measure – they make any meal more fun.

Stacked Chicken Enchiladas

Good morning!  Hopefully y’all had the best weekend and feel refreshed for the first full week of fall.  #canwegetsomefallweather

 

Last week I was flying solo while Big Guy traveled for work.  Even when I’m eating alone during the week, I try to cook at least once or twice.  I do adore my cheese and cracker plates but that can get old after awhile.  (I can’t believe I just said that.)  In an attempt to use a protein from the freezer, I made stacked chicken enchiladas, saving the remaining chicken thighs in the package for our dinner on Friday.   Since I was cooking for one, I decided to halve the recipe and cook them in separate dishes.  However, if I could do it again, I would have doubled the recipe and actually frozen one of the casseroles.  You live and you learn.

The idea behind this recipe is instead of rolling your enchiladas (and making an absolute mess) you simply stack all the ingredients in layers.  Chicken thighs are cooked on the stovetop (or you could save even more time and use a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store) and then shredded before mixing with 2% Greek yogurt and green onions.  The enchilada sauce is made by blending together charred red onions, jalapeño, garlic, fire roasted diced tomatoes, chicken stock, cumin and a little salt.  Grate your cheese and you’re ready to start stacking.

Corn tortillas, the enchilada sauce, chicken and cheese are layered (ending with cheese) and then baked.

enchiladas

Making your enchilada sauce is a game changer, in my opinion – there is SO much more flavor.  The heat was minimal but you could totally leave out the jalapeño if you’re feeding little mouths.  Leftovers are perfect for freezing (or for eating the next night, like I did).

I hope you’re having a great start to your week and I’ll see you tomorrow for more tasty eats.

Five-Spice Chicken Breasts with Sesame-Orange Beans

I almost forgot to share this delicious yet easy chicken dinner with you!  This recipe requires less than 10 ingredients (for the main dish AND a side) and I promise you’ll have at least half of them on hand.  Chinese Five-Spice is an incredibly flavorful spice combination of cinnamon, cloves, fennel seeds, star anise and szechuan peppercorns that brings so much flavor to any dish.  In fact, this spice is packed with so much flavor it’s the only seasoning (other than salt) in this chicken recipe.

Once seasoned, the chicken is cooked in a little canola oil until cooked through (about 5-8 minutes each side).  Allow the chicken to rest while you prepare the beans.

Red onion is sautéed in a little more oil and then seasoned with orange zest (so much flavor!) and thinly sliced garlic.  Allow that to cook for 30 seconds and then add in the haricots verts and cook for 4 minutes.  To finish off the beans, add in soy sauce and then top with orange segments and a small drizzle of sesame oil for a POP of flavor.

chinesefivespice

Despite being an incredibly easy dinner, this meal hit the spot.  It was PACKED with flavor and I loved the brightness from the fresh oranges and the nuttiness from the sesame oil.  Don’t be afraid to use those “strange” spices hiding in your pantry – they add flavor without a lot of fuss OR calories.

Greek Stuffed Pitas

First there was Swedish Meatballs, then there was Banh Mi Bowls and finally we have Greek Stuffed Pitas.  One recipe, three dinners.  This may be my favorite “Cook Once, Eat 3 Times” so far.  Each dinner was so different and I never felt like I was eating the same meatball over and over.

The Greek Pitas are by far the easiest of the three recipe.  Tzatziki is made my combining 2% Greek yogurt (you want a little fat in the yogurt for thickness and tang), grated cucumber, lemon juice, dill, salt and pepper.  Cabbage is thinly sliced and then tossed with lemon juice and salt and pepper.  Cabbage was an unexpected addition to the pitas but I loved the crunch and the lemon juice really tamed the bitterness that I think cabbage can sometimes have. The meatballs are simply warmed in the microwave with a little beef stock.  The pitas are then stuffed to the brim with the cucumber sauce, cabbage, tomatoes and meatballs (I found slicing the meatballs in half made it easier to stuff).

greekpitas

So good!  I adore the flavors in Greek cuisine and it’s crazy to think we were in Greece exactly one year ago today.  And while we have no plans to return in the near future, it’s always nice to bring the flavors of Greece home.

Yamas!

Banh Mi Bowls

As promised, I turned Monday’s Swedish Meatballs into Banh Mi Bowls for dinner on Wednesday.  What I love most about this series is that every recipe is so different from the last.  In no way did a feel like I was eating Swedish Meatballs again (though I would gladly eat another bowl).

This dinner comes together much faster than the meatballs because, duh, you meal prepped the first go-round.  The most time-intensive part of this recipe is the quick pickling of the radish and carrot ribbons.  Simply bring rice vinegar and water plus a little sugar to a boil and then add in the veggies.  Allow to soak, off the heat, for 20 minutes.  Drain and add in the cilantro.  So see, the most labor intensive part is practically hands-free.

While the veggies were soaking, I made the sauce. Simply combine beef broth, soy sauce, sambal oelek, creamy peanut butter and garlic in a small bowl.  Add to a pan over medium heat along with 12 of the leftover meatballs.  Cover and allow to cook until heated through, about 10 minutes.  Remove the meatballs, and allow the sauce to thicken by bringing to a boil.

To serve, fill your bowl with rice, top with your meatballs and sauce plus the veggies, a sprinkle a peanuts and a fresh lime wedge.

banhmibowls

So much flavor.  A little sweet and nutty plus a little spiciness.  I loved the crunch from the peanuts and the fresh cilantro and lime juice really livened up the whole bowl.

Stay tuned for how I use the remaining meatballs…