quick-dinners

Grilled Chicken Tacos with Lettuce Slaw, Avocado and Cotija

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Grilled chicken tacos piled high with a lettuce-tomato slaw, avocado, and Cotija cheese all served on a charred tortilla. A quick weeknight dinner solution!

We love taco Tuesdays in my house, and I’m not talking about the taco’s that come in a kit! Instead I make all kinds of tacos from scratch, from fish tacos, to slow cooker chicken and black bean tacos, turkey taco lettuce wraps and sometimes we even use picadillo in our tacos.

These grilled chicken tacos are a wonderful addition to our taco rotation, and perfect to make outside on the grill now that the weather is warming up. I set all the fixins out on the table and let everyone make their own. You can double or triple this if you want to feed a crowd. If you don’t have an outdoor grill, no worries! A grill pan works just as good. If you prefer to skip the tortilla, just turn this into a great big salad!


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In less time for you get a pizza delivery you can make these yummy personal pizzas using Middle Eastern flatbread.  I got mine from Trader Joe’s. 

For these I used farm fresh heirloom tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, mozzarella, and basil for the Margarita pies (had no fresh mozz), some with homemade tomato sauce (tomatoes, garlic, oregano, onion, salt and pepper), mozzarella and some also with meatballs sliced in half.  12-18 minutes in preheated 450F oven. 

You can customize with toppings, use jarred sauce if you need and give kids a quick meal you know they’ll love.  We always serve salad with our pizzas.

Food With Friends

Happy Friday, readers!

I don’t cook as much as I used to anymore, but when I do feel like it, I try to whip up something that can last for two meals. This week, I was craving fish - salmon, in particular - so I combed through my local supermarket circular and what do you know? Salmon fillets were on sale! What luck! 

I’ll admit that this meal isn’t very fancy at all, but sometimes it’s good to have go-to dinner recipes that won’t take forever to make. Now I’ve made salmon a couple of different ways before on the blog, but this recipe was inspired by my Chopped recipe from a few weeks ago. I’m a big fan of using honey for savory dishes, so this is coming straight from my wheelhouse. I decided to make a honey “glaze” - soy sauce salmon with yellow rice and beans. Simple, but yummy. 

For this recipe, you’ll need:

- Two 1 oz. salmon fillets

- 1 red pepper

- 1 yellow onion

- 1 medium zucchini

- One 8 oz. box yellow rice

- One 15.5 oz can black beans

- 3 tbsp soy sauce

- 1 tbsp honey

- Salt & Pepper

- Adobo seasoning

I didn’t take any photos of this step because preparing rice is pretty straightforward. I used Goya’s Yellow Rice because it’s my favorite and it’s delicious. If you wanted to be a bit healthier, quinoa or wild rice would be an excellent alternative. 

In a medium pot, I brought 2 cups of water to a boil. Then, I added in the rice packet and let that come to another boil for 1 minute. Afterwards, I turned the stove to low heat and let the rice cook for 25 minutes. This gave me plenty of time to prep the rest of the ingredients. 

I really enjoy seasoning meats and seafood because I like to combine crazy ingredients together and see how it all turns out. Generally, it works out pretty well! First, I seasoned my salmon with some salt and pepper and Adobo: the Holy Trinity if you will. Then, in a small bowl, I combined 3 tablespoons of soy sauce to 1 tablespoon of honey. Too much honey would make the dish too sweet - a tablespoon is just perfect. 

In a ziplock bag, I poured in my honey-soy sauce concoction and salmon and put it in the fridge for a few minutes while I worked on chopping up my vegetables. 

The vegetables I chose for this recipe go so well with yellow rice and are my favorites as well. I diced up some red peppers and quartered some zucchinis.  Since two salmon fillets would’ve been too much for me to eat, I invited Andrew, my roommate, to have dinner with me. He helped me chop up the yellow onion - my least favorite thing to do. 

With ten minutes left until the rice finished cooking, I also added in some black beans which I drained before pouring it into the rice pot. Black beans only need about 10 minutes to cook anyway, so why not let them finish cooking together? 

As that part of the meal was coming together, it was time to saute my veg and cook the salmon. In a medium pan, I drizzled in some olive oil on high heat and threw in my vegetables. Don’t forget to season it with some salt! I let them cook in there for about 5-7 minutes or so before pouring them into my rice pot to mix together with the black beans. 

Cooking salmon is one of my favorite things to do. I put those babies onto my pan that I used to cook the vegetables and let them cook for 3-5 minutes on each side. I tend to like my salmon to be just on the cusp of being medium - basically just a little past that rare pink color. 

Once the rice finished cooking, I let it rest off the heat for a little bit and then mixed together the rice, the beans, and the vegetables. On a small plate, I put a generous amount of rice and topped it with the salmon fillet. Just like that - dinner was served!

At first, I thought the salmon was a little bit over-seasoned, but it turned perfect! Just the right amount of sweet and savory and the salmon itself was flaky and delicious. Perfectly cooked, I must say! 

What are your favorite go-to meals? Tweet it to us @ foodiesintrain. If Twitter’s not your thing, you can find us here! 

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Until next time - 

Jess xx

It’s too bad I can read through a cooking magazine so quickly. (It’s one of the main reasons I miss Gourmet so much.) I’ve been traveling a lot lately and it’s not uncommon to have read an ad-filled food journal before the plane reaches 10,000 feet.

I hadn’t peeked at any of the three cooking magazines I tucked into my carry-on until I settled in my seat. You never know from month to month if you’ll find something you actually want to make, and was happy to find that the most recent issue of Cooking Light (May, 2015) had some good material. After perusing the contents, I had dog-eared quite a few pages.

Last night I test-drove the recipe for chicken and vegetable curry. I modified some of the cooking times (I’m not keen on crunchy onions) and substituted shredded, rotisserie chicken for the chicken thighs. What we ate was tender, spicy, and very good – I’m guessing as good as the original recipe. It would be delicious served with or over Jasmine rice – something I’ll do next time.

Quick chicken and vegetable curry, a recipe modified from Cooking Light magazine. Serves 4.

Ingredients:

  • 4 teaspoons canola oil, divided
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 ¼ pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs, chopped (I substituted shredded rotisserie chicken, see notes below)
  • 1 cup unsalted chicken stock (or more if it gets too thick)
  • 2-3 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 cups frozen green peas, thawed
  • ½ cup light coconut milk  

Directions:

Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil; swirl to coat. Add onion; sauté until translucent, about 6 minutes. Stir in flour and next 6 ingredients (through red pepper); sauté 1 minute. Add chicken thighs, stock, carrots, and ½ cup water; bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 8 minutes. Stir in peas and coconut milk; cover and cook 5 minutes. (If using precooked, shredded chicken, add it at the very end and bring curry back up to a simmer.)

Spoon 1 ¾ cups curry into each of 4 shallow bowls; sprinkle with cilantro, if desired. Serve each bowl with naan or rice.

Shells and shrimp

In a gesture so romantic I mentally awarded him the Boyfriend of the Year Award, Stuart cleaned my apartment Monday afternoon. At home, sick, and presumably even more disgusted by my apartment’s state than I, he went to town on my kitchen. He scrubbed counters, organized cabinets, washed dishes, and cleaned out my fridge. Through this last harrowing task (guys, it was bad) he discovered a huge chunk of Parmesan cheese we both thought had been lost or eaten. If you’re living in Korea, you know that losing cheese, especially one as coveted as Parmesan, is criminal. He knew we needed to incorporate it into dinner. 

By the time I came home from the gym I was capital H Hungry. When that’s the case, I have to eat immediately or become a total asshole. Knowing this about me, Stuart suggested a quick meal: shells and shrimp.

This post won’t be perfect. Stuart cut himself while deveining the shrimp. Garlic got a little burned. We didn’t have white wine for the sauce. Stuart insists the shrimp was the tiniest bit overcooked. However, despite these problems, we still ended up with a great meal. One of the hardest things for many novice cooks to accept is that they will fuck up meals. Yes. I said fuck up. You will burn chicken. You’ll chop vegetables so poorly that it will look like someone with a blindfold and gloves did the job. At some point, though, you’ll realize that one or two messed up meals doesn’t mean you’ll always be bad at it. And once you get really good at cooking like Stuart, you’ll be more forgiving when you occasionally burn garlic. 

This meal isn’t vegetarian, but it is gluten free. If you are vegetarian you could easily sub vegetables or even tofu for the shrimp. 

This meal can be made in 20-30 minutes. When you have a hungry tyrant on your hands, you can’t go wrong with cream, parmesan, and seafood. 

You’ll need:

  • 1 pound (about a half a kilo) of shrimp. If you’re in the states, go with the cleaned variety. If in Korea, buy fresh and get ready to make a hot mess in your kitchen. You’ll need a paring knife and nimble fingers.
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 medium-sized onion
  • 1 lemon
  • White pepper. Easily found in most grocery stores. 
  • Parmesan cheese. You can find it in large quantities at Costco. Buy it. If you don’t have a membership, get one. If you don’t want a membership, befriend someone who will take you with them. 
  • A few glugs of olive oil
  • 1 box of pasta. We used quinoa pasta shells. I don’t remember how we got these, but they’re from the States. I either brought them back with me or they came in a package from my mom. 
  • 1/3 cup cream (LOTTE MART! THANK YOU!)
  • ¼ cup white wine (we didn’t have this, but it would be delicious
  • Chopped parsley for garnish (Parsley is common and cheap. You can buy a ton for about 500 won, or 50 cents for our American readers.) 

Quinoa pasta is one of the best gluten free alternatives on the market. Higher in protein than even whole wheat, quinoa is a South American grain that has become popular recently. The pasta doesn’t fall apart and has a great but malleable flavor. Add pasta to boiling water, bring to a boil again, and cook uncovered for 4-8 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

Here is Stuart’s bloodied finger. If you think your food is never exposed to bodily matter when you eat at a restaurant you’re living in a dream world. Still, be careful with your knife! You’ll need to dig your knife .5cm deep into the shell, crack open the peel, and pull out the main vein. If you have access to uncooked but peeled/deveined shrimp, by all means, buy them. It’s a bit tedious to peel and devein them, but don’t be afraid. It’s not too bad. 

This is what burning garlic looks like. Don’t let yours do this. Ours burned since we decided at the last minute to throw in onions as well. Instead, throw your garlic, onions, and glug or two of olive oil into the pan at a medium-low heat. The garlic should “sweat” and be a little on the translucent side.

(Confession: I didn’t realize that browned garlic was such a no-no until I met Stuart. I have burned the hell out of garlic and still eaten it. Oops.) 

When the onions have softened a bit, throw in your shrimp. They’ll immediately turn that gorgeous pink color and shrivel up. Add salt and white pepper. Don’t be shy with either. Now add your lemon. Squeeze the hell out of both halves. You’ll want the citrus to balance the cream when it comes into play. Stir the pan and smell the goodness. 

Now for the big guns…

CREAM! You can find cream at Lotte Mart as well as foreign food markets. Since finding it a few months ago, Stuart and I have been incorporating cream into a lot of our meals. I didn’t use cream much at home, but with limited access to dairy in Korea I am embracing this special find. 

Add the 1/3 cup of cream to the pan. If you’re using white wine (I’d recommend something dry like Sauvignon Blanc), add it shortly thereafter. When the cream is integrated into the mix (within a minute), stick your spatula in the pan and taste the sauce. You should produce an eye-rolling “oh my godddd” and have to restrain yourself from eating it all out of the pan. 

Stuart demonstrates proper tasting technique. If cooking for people who might not want your germs all over the cooking utensils, use a clean spoon. 

When the cream has calmed down a bit and the sauce tastes like the flavors have blended properly, turn off the heat.

Drain your pasta.  Throw it in the pot with the sauce, add about ½ cup of grated parmesan (you’ll need a cheese grater, which can be easily found at any decent-sized grocery store in Korea.), and give it a toss.  Now, into the bowls! 

Finally, add some more parmesan and some chopped parsley on top for garnish. 

Finished product! 

Enjoy!

Shrimp, Kale, and Sweet Potato Skillet With Coconut Curry Sauce

Shrimp, Kale, and Sweet Potato Skillet With Coconut Curry Sauce

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Have I mentioned previously that I live in the middle of nowhere? It has been tough moving out to the farm with Jeremy. I’m isolated from my family and friends; there is no decent shopping within an hour and no fancy restaurants. If I want a flavorful dinner,…

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