Maureen Fraîche

Mixing Business and Pleasure in the Kitchen

Archive for the category “Kitchen Noobs”

Crock Pot Coconut Curry Chicken with Red Potatoes

Crock Pot Coconut Curry with Chicken

Okay, okay.  It is true that in the past (in fact, not that many posts ago), I have prattled on about the glories of enameled cast iron and how such braises prepared therein are vaaaastly superior to what you can cook up in the humble Crock Pot.  However!  That is NOT to say that there aren’t some seriously delicious Crock Pot recipes out there (I’ve been secretly amassing them).  Add to that the fact that most of these recipes are just so easy.  While some may involve a little saute action prior to being added to the slow cooker, others require nothing more than a can opener, a bit of chopping, and your ability to dump ingredients into the pot.  Gotta love that on a crazy day.

I’d say this dish is worth the effort, but there really is no effort involved.  So.  Easy.  You can also tweak this recipe in any number of ways–more/less curry, more/less spice, more veggies, different meat (or tofu!)–you get the idea.  Plus!  If you are trying to lose a little of that jiggle in 2013, this recipe would be an excellent addition to your repertoire.  Just a quick nutrition analysis will tell you this dish is rich in antioxidants, a great source of protein, includes complex carbs for lasting energy–even the capsaicin found in those tiny chili peppers might just give you an edge with your weight loss efforts.  All of this–and more!–for a  mere 333 calories (442 if you serve it up with some rice).

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Roast Chicken with Rosemary and Lemon Thyme

I tell you, as soon as the weather drops into the 60’s, I am all about fall cooking.  Though we never really relinquish the grill, I do find myself inspired to heft out the ole’ Dutch oven and I catch myself daydreaming about roasts and braises, almost wishing for the cold weather so I can get to some serious comfort cooking already.  This time of year, I also get excited about my herb garden, particularly those herbs I tend to neglect in the hot summer months.  I don’t know about you, but rosemary, sage, and even thyme scream autumn to me and I look for excuses to sneak them into just about everything.

Which brings me to this recipe.  Now, everyone should know how to roast a chicken.  Though wrestling with the whole bird may seem a little daunting, there is really nothing to it.  In this recipe, you’ll first create a compound butter, which is simply a butter that has been mashed up with all sorts of aromatic deliciousness–fresh herbs, garlic, lemon zest, and seasoning.  Once made, you’ll then spread your creation under the skin of your bird.  Season the outside with a generous sprinking of salt and pepper and–voila!–your chicken is ready to pop in the oven.  Baking a few russets alongside is a no-brainer.

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Lentil Soup with Chicken Sausage

Every now and then, I come across someone who has never had (or heard of!) lentils and my reaction is always the same–something bordering on shock, I’m sure.  Of course, when you grow up in the supposed lentil capitol of the world, it can be no surprise that these tiny legumes were a regular staple in my family growing up.

Nutritionally speaking, lentils are ridiculously good for you.  Just one serving (1/2 cup cooked), provides complex carbohydrates, 8 g of fiber, 9 g of protein, and a host of vitamins and minerals, such as potassium, iron, a range of B vitamins, magnesium, phosphorus…and all for a mere 115 calories!  If you are trying to lose weight or boost your health, lentils simply must be on your grocery list.

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Vodka Tomato Cream Sauce with Beecher’s Flagship

There is nothing quite like homemade…and that goes for pasta sauce, too!  This recipe is quick and easy, not to mention super versatile.  Feel free to tweak the herbs, amount of cream, or the type and quantity of cheese to your heart’s content!  This sauce is even more delicious with a couple Italian sausages (spicy or sweet) sauteed with the onions and garlic.  Tonight, I kept it fairly simple and not overly indulgent with the cream and cheese.  Today is Tuesday, after all.  Leftover grilled chicken and steak were a no-brainer and put this dinner on the table in less than 40 minutes, though the sauce can certainly be made earlier in the day and then gently reheated come dinner time.  Where this sauce is slightly chunky, a shaped pasta is a great choice; though the creaminess also makes it a happy pairing with a long pasta, such as linguine.  My personal favorite?  Gnocchi!

Click for the recipe!

Hearthbread

Oh my.  This recipe is amazing and great for bread-making newbies!  I’ve made it so many times that I rarely use the recipe and it is always a hit.  The bread is soft, slightly salty, and deliciously aromatic.  It is also super versatile.  I especially enjoy hearthbread with spaghetti, which just happens to be on the dinner menu tonight.  While a simple topping of chopped parsley and minced garlic is my favorite stand-by (and the reason there is always fresh parsley in my house), the savory possibilities are near endless.  Artichoke hearts, olives, roasted tomatoes, fresh herbs, your favorite cheese…I’m getting hungry just thinking about it!

This is my first recipe post and while I’m hoping there aren’t any issues, I do hope you’ll let me know if you have any questions or problems!  Enjoy!

Recipe after the jump!

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