Apple butter: I am using this as a substitute to jelly for PB&J. However, the cinnamon in it will also make for a great add to a cobbler – maybe a peach one?
Pizza kit: This came with the basics for a dough and sauce. All we need to do is add water and our toppings! Talk about a great quick put-together meal for our family if we’re running short on time one night! The coolest part about this item is that the packaging was done by her daughter!
Mocha coffee granola: I’ve used this as a great part of a yogurt parfet and I plan on using the rest of it as a good base for a crumble topping.
Veggie chips: A great snack – did I mention they’re all gone? They were great with some roasted pepper humus!
Carolina barbeque sauce: It’s given me the inspiration to do a slow cook pork bbq using this sauce!
As my family and I dug in, we were overwhelmed with the great artisan flavors and the South.
If you’re interested in participating – check out the details here! You don’t have to blog to participate!
I love Old Bay seasoning – I really can’t have enough of it! It’s salty, spicy, smokey, and pairs brilliantly with seafood. Most of the time, people think of it as the seasoning to use when you’re steaming up blue crabs. Frogmore stew is a dish that takes full advantage of this seasoning without the crab (and the mess having crab can make) requirement.
The best thing about this dish is that it’s simple to make and it’s kid friendly – half the ingredients you need to eat with your hands, and what child doesn’t like that?
If you have time to dump your ingredients into a large stock pot, you have more than enough time to cook this up!
Hands on time: 10 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes
- 10 cups of water
- ¼ cup Old Bay seasoning plus extra to serve on the side
- 2 lbs. small (new size) red skin potatoes - if large, cut into halves or quarters
- 1 lbs. Kielbasa or similar textured smoked sausage cut into chunks (about 3 inches or so)
- 4 ears fresh corn, cut into halves
- 2 lbs. shrimp
- In a large stock pot, place cold water, Old Bay, and potatoes. Bring to a boil.
- Let potatoes boil for 10 minutes.
- Add sausage and corn and let mixture boil for an additional 10 minutes.
- Add shrimp. Cover and boil for about 5 minutes or until shrimp are pink and fully cooked.
- Drain the mixture (either in a colander or using a slotted spoon to pull out potatoes, corn, sausage, and shrimp onto a serving platter. Serve with extra Old Bay and melted butter on the side.
The other day I started a new job. I am on cloud nine, but between excitement and learning as much as I can from the person that I’m taking over for, I’ve come home a bit tired. Then to top it all off, I didn’t really meal plan very well and was running out of ingredients to use to put together a nutritious dinner.
So it was off to the drawing board. On nights like these I always try to find something that fits into three categories – starch/carb, vegetable, and protein. Between the freezer and pantry I came up with a marinated teriyaki chicken with ginger-pea rice. I served it along side my sauteed swiss chard. The best part is that it is beyond simple to put together and didn’t take too much forethought if you want to skip the marination part!
Hands on time: 15 minutes
Total time (including marination): 1.5hrs.
- 2 chicken breasts
- 1/4 cup Teriyaki sauce, plus some extra for drizzling
- 1 cup Jasmine rice
- 1 tsp finely grated ginger
- 1/2 – 3/4 cup frozen peas
- Poke chicken breasts with a fork all over. Place in a ziplock bag and pour in teriyaki sauce. Close bag, mush sauce around so the teriyaki sauce covers the chicken. Place bag in refrigerator and let it marinate for about 1 hour or up to 24 hours.
- About 30 minutes before you want to eat, clean rice with water (you’ll know it’s clean when the water is clear).
- IF YOU HAVE A RICE COOKER: Place 1 cup rice with 2 cups water in a rice cooker. Add ginger and frozen peas. Start rice cook rand wait until it is done cooking. Fluff and mix pea-rice mixture with fork before serving.
- IF YOU DON’T HAVE A RICE COOKER: Place two cups of water in a pot and set it to boil. Add rice, ginger, and peas. Bring mixture back up to a boil. Cover the pot and reduce heat so that the mixture simmers (usually low to medium-low). Cook for about 20-25 minutes. When rice is cooked, fluff and mix the pea-rice mixture with a fork before serving.
- Meanwhile, pull out the chicken from the refrigerator. Place chicken directly on grill (or under broiler) and cook thoroughly (about 10 minutes).
- To serve, place rice on plate and place sliced chicken on top. Drizzle with extra teriyaki sauce if desired.
I love dishes that have tons of flavor, are easy and quick to prepare, and are just a little unusual.
Cataplana is a fantastic Portuguese dish that combines meat, seafood, and veggies into something absolutely amazing. The marinated pork with the muscles or clams and wine sauce bring you to the Mediterranean.
This dish also makes a lot! It’s perfect for serving a crowd without going through a lot of work!
Hands on time: 20 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes (does NOT include marinating time).
- 1 1/2 lbs pork tenderloin
- 1 cup white wine
- 1 large garlic clove, minced
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/4 tsp crushed red chili pepper flakes
- 1 1/2 to 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 6-10 oz of Spanish chorizo, sliced
- 1 bag of muscles or clams
- 1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 1 large tomato, thinly sliced
- 10 slices of prosciutto or bacon
- 1 bunch parsley
- A crusty bread like a french baguette (optional)
- Chop pork tenderloin into 1 inch cubes and place in plastic bag. Add wine, garlic, bay leaf, and chili pepper flakes. Leave pork to marinate in fridge for at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours.
- When you are ready to start cooking, add olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat.
- Remove pork and save the left over marinating liquid. Add pork and chorizo to the frying pan and fry until pork is browned.
- Add reserved marinating liquid and bring to a simmer. Taste, and adjust seasoning as needed with salt and pepper or wine.
- Remove pan from heat.
- Butter the bottom and sides of a Cataplana pan, or a wok,or very large sauté pan with a tight-fitting lid.
- Add muscles or clams to the pan.
- Place the pork, chorizo, and liquid over the shell-fish.
- Top with bell pepper, tomato, prosciutto, and parsley.
- If necessary, add more liquid – you should have enough to steam the shell-fish, but not too much that they will boil.
- Close lid tightly and place pan on high heat for about 10 -12 minutes.
- Remove from heat.
Serve by bringing pan to the table and serve “family style” with crusty bread to soak up the juices.
I am so excited to announce the kickoff of a great new blog between myself and my really good friend Sara.
We decided to do a co-blog when we decided to do a play date for our daughters.
Sarah is as passionate about her family and cooking as I am. Being government employees, we have a lot of rule and regulations we have to weed through, and cooking not only our creative outlet, but it’s also a way for us to know we’re providing the best we can for our family.
I will still be posting on Katja’s Kitchen for a little while to help with the transition – but please go and check out our new blog Two Bureaucrats Cooking and help us get some followers for our new endeavors!
I first came across this recipe from the blog The Smart Cookie. This spinach and bean pesto sounded flavorful, healthy, and really delicious – especially on a pizza!
The night we tried this, I had to convince my husband that it was a good idea. He was excited about pizza night, but was hoping for the more traditional tomato based one. When I told him it was pesto his response was “oh”. I was able to win him over after he bit into it and he promptly said “this needs to be in the regular rotation!”
The number one thing we both loved about this sauce was that it is hearty and doesn’t give you the over-oiled look and taste that can happen with a pesto pizza. It’s a fantastic way to change-up your ordinary pizza!
Here’s my take on the The Smart Cookie’s recipe. Enjoy!
Hands on time: 15 minutes
Total time: 25-30 minutes
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 can of garbanzo beans
- 1 can of red kidney beans
- 1 1/2 tbsp of olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups of fresh spinach
- 1/2 to 2/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup of fresh basil
- pizza dough to make a 12″ pizza or any other pre-made pizza base you prefer
- 2-3 oz goat cheese, crumbled
- Place garlic, garbanzo beans, and red kidney beans in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped.
- Add spinach, parmesan, and basil to the bean mix and turn on food processor. Drizzle in olive oil.
- Season bean mixture with salt and pepper to taste.
- Roll out pizza dough and sped 1/2 the bean mixture over pizza (freeze other half for later use or use it as a sandwich spread).
- Sprinkle goat cheese on top of pizza.
- Bake pizza at directed for your dough or other pre-made pizza base.
One of the most under-appreciated vegetables, in my opinion, is swiss chard. If you like spinach, it’s kind of like that, but with a slightly stronger flavor. My family loves it in salad, soups, quiche, and just about anything that where you can add in some extra veggies. My husband and I have both had it before, but we really fell in love with it when we were members of a local CSA. That spring/summer, swiss chard quickly became one of our favorite greens and since then we have always saught it out to add into a dish or two for the week
This time, we did a simple saute with it! It’s a wonderful side dish that is quick and easy, but the flavors make this saute complex.
Don’t forget, it’s pink Wednesday and my friend Sigrid is still looking for donations so she can participate in the 3-Day walk for breast cancer.
Hands on time: 15 minutes
Total time: 15 minutes
- 1 bunch red swiss chard, coarsely chopped
- 2 Tbsp sesame seed oil
- 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 to 2 Tbsp soy sauce
- Heat sesame seed oil in a large saute pan on medium heat.
- Once oil is hot, add in minced garlic and stir until fragrant – about 30 seconds.
- Add in swiss chard and cook until it is wilted – about 1/3 to 1/2 the size of what it originally started out at.
- Mix in soy sauce to taste.
- Serve as a side with any grilled meat.
Only recently have I discovered the joy of baking your own bread. It’s actually really easy, makes the whole house smell wonderful, tastes better than anything you can buy, and is a fantastic stress reliever if you had a bad day/week (yes, my favorite part is “punching” the dough).
The best loaf recipe I found was online at allrecipes.com. The first time I made it, it came out perfectly! When my daughter first tried it, she couldn’t put the bread down. Even my husband, who is not a picky eater and loves everything even told me he prefers my homemade bread – for someone who’s not a huge foodie I took this as a great compliment!
I usually make this on the weekend and start the process late morning or early afternoon. When I’m waiting around for the dough to do it’s magic, I do whatever else I want/need to do – clean, go for a walk, read, play with my daughter – and then pop it in the oven until it’s done.
I know the time frame to cook this is “long” but most of it is waiting around until the dough rises. Trust me – you have to try this recipe at least once – you’ll be shocked at how little effort you need to put in for an extra tastey staple!
This recipe makes a lot – three loafs! If you’re worried you wont go through that much bread relatively quickly, don’t worry! We don’t either I freeze two of the loafs and with the one we’re using, I put it in the fridge to make sure it lasts a little longer as there are no preservatives like there are in regular store bought brands
Hands on time: 20 minutes
Total time: 3 1/2 – 4 hrs (includes waiting for the dough to rise).
- 3 cups luke warm water – should be slightly warmer than your body temperature
- 1 1/2 Tbsp or 2 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast
- 1/3 cup honey or brown sugar
- 5 cups bread flour
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1/3 cup honey or brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- In a large bowl, dissolve warm water, yeast, and 1/3 cup honey or sugar.
- Add 5 cups white bread flour, and stir to combine. Let set for 30 minutes, or until big and bubbly.
- Mix in 3 tablespoons melted butter, 1/3 cup honey or sugar, and salt.
- Stir in 2 cups whole wheat flour. Flour a flat surface and knead (a great stress reliever!) with whole wheat flour until not real sticky – just pulling away from the counter, but still sticky to touch – about 6-8 minutes. NOTE: This may take an additional 2 to 4 cups of whole wheat flour.
- Place dough in a greased bowl, flip so the bottom (which touched the grease) is on top. Cover with a dishtowel. Let rise in a warm place until doubled – about 2-3 hrs.
- Punch down, and divide dough into thirds.
- Grease 3, 9 x 5 inch loaf pans (using a cooking spray or butter). Place each dough section into the greased pan and allow to rise for about another 30 minutes.
- Bake at 350 degrees F for 25 to 30 minutes – if you knock on the bread, it should sound hollow.
- Lightly brush the tops of loaves with 2 tablespoons melted butter or margarine when done to prevent crust from getting hard.
- Cool completely before slicing or storing in refrigerator or freezer.
Homemade nachos always remind me of my childhood and my mother. Growing up, I thought it was a big treat to have these – they taste great, are fun to make, and tons of fun to eat. I mean really, what kid doesn’t like eating with their hands?
My mother never made just any old nacho dish – we always had “super” nachos. With toppings that we (the kids) got to help choose and were heaped on, they were better than anything I had at a restaurant. How could these nachos be anything but super ? Then again, adding “super” to the title made them more fun to eat as well
To this day I still make these nachos – they’re great to whip up on a busy weeknight! Cook up the ground meat in a skillet, assemble, bake in the oven for 10 minutes and you’re done.
Hands on time: 20 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes
- 1 Tbsp canola oil
- 1 onion
- 1 lb lean ground beef
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp dried, ground chipotle pepper
- 1/2 tsp ground coriander
- 1/2 tsp mace
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/2 to 3/4 bag of corn tortilla chips
- 1 to 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup salsa
- 1/2 a beefsteak tomato or 2-3 plum tomatoes, diced
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 2 spring onions, chopped
- 1 avocado, chopped into bite sized pieces
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Heat oil in a large saute pan over medium heat.
- Add in onion and saute until soft – about 3-5 minutes.
- Add in ground beef and brown until fully cooked.
- Drain excess fat.
- Place pan back on stove, mix in spices and about 1/3 cup of water and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes.
- Remove pan from heat.
- Line a baking tray with tin foil and spray with cooking spray.
- Evenly Spread out tortilla chips until the tray is covered.
- Using a spoon, scatter meat mixture over tortillas
- Sprinkle cheese over the meat and tortilla chips.
- Drizzle (as best you can) salsa over the cheese.
- Scatter fresh tomatoes over the dish.
- Place small dollops of sour cream over the dish.
- Sprinkle spring onions as the final topper.
- Place baking tray in the oven and allow to bake until cheese is melted and everything is heated through – about 5-10 minutes.
- Garnish dish with diced avocado.
This week’s “pink” in to help my friend Sigrid fundraise for her breast cancer awareness walk is about one of my favorite and easiest curries to make: Thai red curry.
This recipe comes from when I spent my year in Thailand. Thai curries, at least according to my host family, were regarded to only contain certain types of meats, a basic taste, and/or come from a specific region of the country. Green curry is considered sweet, yellow curry typically has fish and comes from southern Thailand, and red curry (my favorite) is considered the spices.
Curry usually gets a bad rap in regards to how difficult it is to prepare. Well, this recipe will put this myth to bed. I learned how to cook this from my host sister. One of my fondest memories of P’Air was when I asked her about how to make the curry past and she promptly told me that it took a long time to make a good one and quite frankly between school and helping her mother around the house, she didn’t have time to make her own – so she bought it from the local market.
So in her memory and appreciation in saving time during busy days and this being my “pink post” of the week, here is my version of Thai red curry.
Hands on time: 30 minutes
Total time : 40 minutes
- 1 1/2 cups of jasmine rice
- 2 14oz cans of coconut milk
- 2 oz or 1/4 cup of red curry paste
- 1-2 14 oz cans of chicken broth
- 1 lb boneless chicken breast, in 1 inch cubes
- 1 lb of Thai eggplant (found in Asian grocery stores), chopped into bite sized pieces
- 1 small can of bamboo shoots
- Fish sauce (to taste – but at least a tbsp)
- 1 lime
- Rinse rice until water runs clear. Place in rice cooker with 3 cups of water. If using a pot, bring rice and water to a boil, cover, and reduce to a simmer for about 20-25 minutes.
- In the mean time, in a large stock pot, heat one can of coconut milk over medium to medium low heat.
- When coconut milk is fragrant (about 3-5 minutes), add cubed chicken and cook until chicken is cooked through – approximately 7 minutes.
- Add in second can of coconut milk, chicken broth, curry paste, and fish sauce. Simmer until paste is thoroughly combined.
- Taste the curry to see if it is too coconutty for you – if it is, think it out to your taste with the second can of chicken stock.
- Add chopped Thai eggplant and cook for 3-5 minutes.
- Add bamboo shoots and cook until they are heated through – about 1 minute.
- Check Thai eggplant – when it is tender, add in the juice of the lime.
- Do another quick taste test and add more fish sauce if you desire.