Wednesday, July 31, 2013


Dahl in Indian is a typical legume side dish with every meal.  It's like our mashed potatoes (or potatoes in general).  I like to make it because it's healthier for you and a bit more filling than potatoes.  Dahl can be made TONS of ways with different spice combinations, but I wanted to share my favorite.

{Tomato-based Dahl--I served this with Garam Masala Chicken}

{Heating butter and garlic up (I used garlic scapes here)}

{Cook butter until it's nice and golden and garlic is browned on the edges}

{Add lentils and cook for 1 minute}

{Add spices and cook for another 2-3 minutes}

{Add tomato sauce and broth}

{Typically dahl is mushy, but I like texture so I cook my lentils until soft not mushy}

One year ago:  Spicy Buffalo Chicken Dip


Serves 4

2 tablespoons butter
3 cloves garlic, chopped
3/4 cups lentils
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 can tomato sauce (about 6 oz)
1 1/2 cups broth
  1. Heat butter in a pan until melted; add garlic and cook until butter is golden and garlic begins to brown on the edges.
  2. Add lentils and saute for 1 minute.
  3. Add turmeric, cumin and pepper and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add tomato sauce and broth; bring liquid to a boil then turn the heat down to simmer the lentils.
  5. Cook lentils for 25-30 minutes or until soft but not mushy!
  6. Taste and add salt if needed.
  7. Serve.
What are your favorite grain sides?  Do you prefer rice?  Or are you more exotic and use quinoa or barley?

Pin It

Monday, July 29, 2013

Posole Verde

When I saw this recipe, it piqued my interest.  I've never been a big fan of Mexican or Mexican-themed foods, but it's slowly growing on me.  I had a feeling that I needed to make it (despite not liking radishes), and so I did.  Not only did I absolutely love it, the hubby did too!  It was a bit strange with the addition of radishes, but they really added another flavor to this dish.

{Posole Verde}

{Getting everything chopped and ready to go!}

{I didn't get a picture of me browning the pork, but here is the onions, garlic and cumin!}

{Adding cooked pork to the sauce mix}

{Place in crockpot and cook}

{Add hominy in the last hour}

{Before adding the radishes, sour cream and cilantro}

Posole Verde
adapted from Betty Crocker

Makes 4 servings

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound pork loin, cubed
2 large onions, finely diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
3/4 cup chicken broth
16 oz salsa verde
2-5 oz cans green chilis (I found in the Mexican section at Kroger)
1 can white hominy, drained and rinsed
Sour cream, radishes, jalapenos, and cilantro for garnish
  1. Heat oil in a large skillet until hot.
  2. Add pork and brown on one side.
  3. Remove pork and place in a bowl.
  4. Add onions, garlic and cumin to the hot pan and cook until browned on the edges; add to pork in bowl.
  5. Add the chicken broth, salsa verde and chilis to the bowl and mix well.
  6. Marinate overnight.
  7. The next day, place pork mixture in a crock-pot for 6-8 hours on low.
  8. One hour before service, add hominy and turn to high.
  9. Serve posole verde with sour cream, radishes, jalapenos (I choose to forgo the jalapenos because it was plenty hot for me!) and cilantro.
Have you ever tried a dish that you weren't too sure about?  Did you end up liking it?

Pin It

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Brined Pork Loin Chops

This recipe almost broke us.  We made this recipe FOUR (yes that is 4) times before we got it right.  Yes, I said "we".  My hubby really loved this recipe, all except for it being extremely salty the first 3 times we attempted it.  It's simplicity kept calling us; all we needed to do was get the salt right, and we did.  Boy-oh-boy did we!!!  We both raved about this pork as we ate it.  I guess it's the sweet taste of satisifaction :o)

{Brined pork loin chops!}

{Brining infuses meat with flavors and salt is typically used in plenty!}

{Adding hot water to get the spices to release their lovely flavors}

{Adding the pork chops}

{I love glass bowls--couldn't resist the side view!}

On year ago: Lemon Bars

Brined Pork Loin Chops
adapted from Martha Stewart

Makes 4 servings

1/4 cup Kosher salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon black peppercorn
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1-2 bay leaves (depending on the size: 1 large or 2 small)
4 pork loin chops
  1. Place salt, sugar, peppercorns, coriander seeds, oregano, and bay leaves in a bowl that can withstand hot water.
  2. Heat about 1 cup of water until steaming.
  3. Pour onto spices and stir until all of the salt and sugar are dissolved.
  4. Allow to sit for 15-20 minutes or until cool.
  5. Add pork chops and fill the remainder of the container with cool water.  The pork chops need to be completely covered.
  6. Marinate for NO MORE than 12 hours.
  7. Preheat grill and grill pork chops until done, about 20 minutes.
I plan on brining some chicken with this recipe too mainly because it's just that versatile.  Have you ever tried brining?

PS--I will be on a mini-vacation on Thursday and Friday to see my best friend.  I'll be back Monday with some more delicious recipes and August's Spice It UP featured item!  Have a fantastic weekend!

Pin It

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Tuesday Tip: Soak Rice

One of the most ridiculous tips I learned in culinary school is the following: soak your rice at least 8 hours before cooking to cook it faster.  It sounds crazy, I know, but yes it works!  What's even better, is that soaking the rice before you use it releases some of the starch in the rice making it sticky (aka easier to eat).  Read on about how to soak rice!

{Step 1: Place 1 cup rice in a bowl}

{Step 2: Add 2 cups water to rice and allow to sit for 8-12 hours}

{Step 3: Drain rice and cook like normal}

Yes--that's it!  This brown rice takes about 1 1/2 hours to cook, but with this method it took about 30 minutes!  Plus, the starch that was brought to the surface makes the rice sticky (very sticky for white rice).  This trick is done in Asia especially since most eat with chopsticks.  And how easy is it to cut the cooking time by 2/3 by just taking 5 minutes and soaking your rice?  Too easy!

Pin It

Monday, July 22, 2013

Roasted Chicken with Chickpeas

I've been hearing good reviews regarding roasted chickpeas.  They are healthy for you (scores major points with me!) and can be roasted with sweet or savory ingredients.  The hubby needs gradual change so I made a recipe from 50 Shades of Chicken that incorporated roasted chickpeas, and he loved it! 

{Sorry for the blurriness--we were hungry!  The delicious smell was all over the house!}

{Mixing chickpeas, hot sauce, and onions}

{Place chickpeas in the bottom of a roasting pan}

{Spice rub for chicken}

{Spice rubbed chicken ready for the oven!}

Roasted Chicken with Chickpeas

Serves 4

1-15 oz can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 large onion, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
6 cloves garlic, chopped
5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 teaspoons hot sauce, divided
1 lemon, zested
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1/2 heaping teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 whole chicken (4-5 pounds), rinsed and dried
  1. In a bowl, mix chickpeas, onions, garlic, 3 tablespoons olive oil, and 1 teaspoon hot sauce until chickpeas and onions are well-coated.  Place in the bottow of a roasting pan.
  2. In another bowl, mix together remaining ingredients, except chicken.
  3. Rub spice mixture all over chicken and place chicken on top of chickpeas.
  4. Allow chicken to marinate overnight.
  5. Place chicken on the countertop about 1 hour before cooking to allow chicken to warm up to room temperature.
  6. Preheat oven to 375.
  7. Roast chicken for 45-50 minutes or until chicken juices run clear or temperature reads 165 degrees.
  8. Pull chicken out of the oven and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes before serving.
I've got a few savory/spicy and sweet roasted chickpea recipes to try out for snacks and such.  I'll probably even try it with his favorite chip flavor spice mixture; maybe he will be so addicted to the chickpeas, he will stop eating chips!  Wishful thinking, I know, but I can dream right?

Pin It

Friday, July 19, 2013

Tikka Masala

This is one of my absolute favorite dishes of all time!!!!!!!!  Seriously.  I firsted encountered this lovely dish in culinary school while we were learning about India, and I have made it several times since.  I will admit, it is a process (marinating overnight, grilling, and then simmering for hours).  It is simple, don't worry; just time-consuming!  Which is why I don't make it too often.  HOWEVER, I adapted it to a crockpot, and although it's still a process, the last process--putting it in a crockpot to cook instead of simmering/babysitting it for hours--definitely makes this much easier! 

{Tikka Masala with yogurt sauce and pita}

I made a large batch of this (for two people), and my hubby ATE IT!!!  Which means that I had no leftovers for three days so I could savor every. last. bite.....  *sigh*  He is lucky that I love him!

{Chopping cilantro for the marinade}

{Marinade for chicken}

{Marinated chicken overnight}

{Starting the sauce}

{Sauting the spices}

{Add milk and tomato paste}

{Stir and heat through to mix it well}

{Grill chicken--you just want to get that grilled flavor, the chicken doesn't need to be well done}

{Grilled chicken}

{Place chicken in the crockpot}

{Pour tomato sauce on top}

{Cook for 6-8 hours on low}

One year ago:  Hummus

Tikka Masala

Serves 4

4 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless (sub 8 bone-in, skinless chicken thighs if you prefer it)
1 tablespoon ginger, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon chili powder (use less if you don't like it too spicy)
2 tablespoons cilantro, minced
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
8 oz plain yogurt
3 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, finely diced
1 teaspoon chili flakes (use less if you don't like it too spicy)
1 tablespoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
12 oz tomato paste (or tomato sauce if you do it on the stove)
12 oz milk

Crockpot Method (Three Day Method)
  1. Place chicken in a container that can be placed in the fridge (for marinating).
  2. Mix ginger, garlic, chili powder, cilantro, lemon juice, and olive oil together in a small bowl until well combined.  Add some salt and pepper (just a few shakes each).
  3. Rub marinade over chicken and marinate in the fridge overnight.
  4. Meanwhile, mix parsley, mint and yogurt together to create the yogurt sauce adding salt and pepper if needed.  Place in fridge overnight.
  5. Heat butter in a large skillet until toasty in smell and dark golden in color; add onions and cook until browned on the edges.  Add spices and cook for 2-3 minutes.  Add milk and tomato PASTE; heating through and stirring until combined.  Cool tomato sauce and store in the fridge.
  6. The next day, preheat grill to high; add chicken and cook until chicken gets good grill marks on it (about 6 minutes each side).  Place back in the marinade container and set overnight in the fridge.
  7. The next day (we are up to two days unless you want to fire your grill at 5 AM to grill the chicken), place chicken in the crockpot and top with tomato sauce. 
  8. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or until chicken is done and tender.
  9. Serve chicken with yogurt sauce and pita.

Stovetop Method (Two Day Method)
  1. Place chicken in a container that can be placed in the fridge (for marinating).
  2. Mix ginger, garlic, chili powder, cilantro, lemon juice, and olive oil together in a small bowl until well combined.  Add some salt and pepper (just a few shakes each).
  3. Rub marinade over chicken and marinate in the fridge overnight.
  4. Meanwhile, mix parsley, mint and yogurt together to create the yogurt sauce adding salt and pepper if needed.  Place in fridge overnight.
  5. The next day, preheat grill to high; add chicken and cook until chicken gets good grill marks on it (about 8 minutes each side). 
  6. Heat butter in a large skillet until toasty in smell and dark golden in color; add onions and cook until browned on the edges.  Add spices and cook for 2-3 minutes.  Add milk and tomato SAUCE; heating through and stirring until combined. 
  7. Add grilled chicken to the tomato mixture and simmer on medium-low for 1-2 hours or until chicken is done, and sauce is reduced by half.
  8. Serve chicken with yogurt sauce and pita.

See what I mean?  Not complicated but definitely time-consuming!  What is your favorite time-consuming dish?

Pin It

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Go-To Steak Marinade

I was looking for a good steak marinade recipe, and Pinterest served one up!  Unfortunately, the original website is not available anymore, but I want to make it clear that this recipe was not created by me.  We made this recipe twice; not because it wasn't good!  On contrar!!!  It was so DELICIOUS that we ate everything before I thought to get the finished picture.  No problem!  I tried this out on both beef and deer steaks, and it was delicious both times!  Can't beat that!

{Deer steaks I eat well because of possible diseases and parasites}

{Easy to make marinade}

{Easy clean-up: stick it in the bag with the meat!}

{Yummy steaks!  The chicken in the foreground is for Tikka Masala (which will be published tomorrow!!!)--yes we multitask!}

One year ago:  Preserving Herbs

Steak Marinade

Serves 4

4 steaks (whatever you prefer)
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup lime juice
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
6 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons dried basil
1 1/2 tablespoons dried parsley
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  1. Place steaks in a container to marinate them.
  2. Mix the remaining ingredients until well-combined.
  3. Pour marinade over steaks and marinate overnight.
  4. Preheat grill.
  5. Grill steaks until they reach your doneness.
Do you have a go-to marinade for steaks or any other meat?

Pin It

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Spice Rubbed Pork Chops

In my house, we love spicy foods, but my definition of spicy and the hubby's vary greatly.  As in, I can tolerate a bit of spice and fire; the hubby can handle about five times more spice and fire than I can.  When I saw this recipe for spice rubbed pork chops, I knew that my hubby would love it.  So I made it, and I cried.  Literally.  I cried (and drank lots of milk) the entire time while eating this because it was so unbelievably spicy; the hubby just laughed and laughed at me.  So I made this again with modifications, and this time it came out perfect!  Just enough spice and fire to tickle your tastebuds but not make them wish they were dead....  Which mine might have done for a few days afterwards....

{Spice Rubbed Pork Chops with Garlic and Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower}

{Spice paste}

{Pork chops getting ready for their spicy paste massage}

{Rub the spice paste in}

{I GOT A PICTURE OF IT ON THE GRILL!!!  Then my hubby says--no wonder it takes you so long to make food...  You stop and take pictures of everything!  *sigh*}

Spice Rubbed Pork Chops

Makes 4 servings

5 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon Kosher salt (1/2 tablespoon regular salt)
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
4 pork chops
  1. Mix all ingredients except pork chops together until well blended.
  2. Place pork chops on a plate and rub in spice paste.
  3. Marinate overnight.
  4. Grill until done.
Did you know that fat, like milk or sour cream, helps to cool the mouth down?  Acid also works, like citrus juice or vinegar, but to me, the dairy products are easier to eat.  So tell me--how spicy do you like your food?  Just enough to tingle the taste buds or hotter than fire? 

Pin It

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Tuesday Tip: How to Slice a Melon

Have you ever seen a whole melon that smelled so delicious that you wanted to take it home?  But you didn't because you didn't know how to cut it up....  Well!  Today's tip will help solve that!  A knife is involved so please be careful!  I bought a cantalope at the farmers market that smelled heavenly and tasted even better!

{Step 1: Gather a cutting board, a knife and melon}

{Step 2: Cut a flat surface on the top and bottom.  This will make the melon stable as you "peel" it}

{Step 3: Cut about 1/4 inch into the melon from the peel.  Cut in a downward and rounded motion with the melon}

{"Peeled" melon}

{Step 4: Cut the melon in half}

{Halved melon}

{Step 5: Take a spoon and scoop out the seeds and seed membrane (structure that holds the seeds in place)}

{De-seeded and de-membraned melon}

{Step 6: Place the melon half on the flat side and cut along with width for melon slices}

{Step 7 (optional): Lay some melon slices down and cut into bite-sized pieces}

{Bite-sized melon chunks!}

See?  Not that difficult, but practice does make perfect!  You can use this method on any melon, watermelon included.  The only difference with a watermelon is that you won't remove the seeds.

Pin It