thegingerchef

Recipes from My Kitchen

I can’t believe I ate the whole thing… (oh, wait, yes I can)

On busy nights, I like simple dishes.  I also try to make things that my chickadee will eat (maybe not every component or spice, but generally so – I’m not making 4 different meals for 2 people, every night).  Last evening was a Cooking Light recipe that I just happened to have all the ingredients for (well, I thought I had frozen spinach, but since I didn’t, I just used spinach pieces out of a salad-mix instead).

Tonight was a Chicken-Quinoa Marsala bowl.  I about-halved the recipe, which turned out to be ~1.5 chicken breasts (I always keep some frozen in ziplocs), a handful of spinach, and 1 prepared cup of quinoa.  That made two nicely sized bowls for me (without completely overdoing it…kinda sorta…ok, maybe a little) and left plenty of poultry for the little one (she loves cous cous, but is not a fan of quinoa – much to the babysitter’s distress, I’m sure, when I pack it in her lunch).

You can make everything but the quinoa in one pan, which is pretty handy – and you can prep most of the ingredients as you go along and something else is cooking (quinoa can fend for itself).   In this picture you also see a pan of spiralized squash.  I wanted to do baked chips, but ran out of time, so this was a quick sautee.  I tried to convince the kiddo they were noodles – and to her credit she tried them – but was not a fan.  I, however, thought they were great and ate her portion.  (This is why I run.)

dinner 1

Overall, the dish was a winner (and chickadee loved the chicken – she asked for seconds!).   I did have too much liquid in the chicken pan, so I had to pour some into a cup (saved it in case it got too thick and needed thinning), but the flavor was really good.  I only had two real edits –  I added poultry seasoning to the quinoa batch instead of cooking it in chicken broth (was trying to flavor it for kiddo) and it was still really good; and I rarely (if ever) cook with chicken thighs – they’re good, and I love dishes with the crispy skin, but chicken breasts are more versatile and I keep them on-hand.  Since it’s a Cooking Light recipe you know it’s (mostly) healthy and pretty tasty – I haven’t found too many of theirs to be unpalatable (which is why I’m still a subscriber!).

 

dinner 2

Hope you guys enjoy!

Mushroom and Chicken Marsala Bowls

http://www.myrecipes.com/m/recipe/mushroom-chicken-marsala-bowls

Ingredients
2 1/2 tablespoons butter, divided
1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 cups unsalted chicken stock, divided
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
1 (6-ounce) package fresh baby spinach
1 pound mushrooms, quartered
8 ounces skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/4 cup minced shallots
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/2 cup dry Marsala wine
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preparation
Hands-on: 35 Minutes   Total: 35 Minutes

  1. Melt 1 1/2 teaspoons butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add quinoa to pan; sauté 3 minutes or until toasted and fragrant. Add 1 1/4 cups stock; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 12 minutes. Remove from heat; let stand 10 minutes. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon salt.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add spinach; cook 1 1/2 minutes or until beginning to wilt. Remove spinach from pan.
  3. Melt 1 1/2 teaspoons butter in pan. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons oil; swirl to coat. Add mushrooms; cook 8 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove mushroom mixture from pan.
  4. Add remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add chicken to pan; sauté 4 minutes, browning on all sides. Add shallots, thyme, and garlic; sauté 1 1/2 minutes. Add wine and remaining 1/4 cup stock, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Cook 2 minutes or until liquid is reduced by two-thirds and becomes slightly syrupy. Remove from heat. Add remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons butter, mustard, pepper, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, stirring constantly until butter melts. Stir in mushrooms and spinach. Serve over quinoa.
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Martha Stewart is Never Wrong

Soooo, here I am again!  I was asked – twice last week, believe it or not – whatever happened to my food blog.  Well, as most people can relate, life happened.  I still cook; I still find unusual, or re-imagined, or comforting recipes; and I still experiment on my friends with new recipes (not all of them are winners, for certain).  But usually I get so wrapped up in the cooking, enjoying the process, or teaching my chickadee how to measure and pour that I forget to take photos, or write down what worked and what didn’t.   I truly am living in the moment, and I’m very unapologetic for that 😊.  But then some nights, I make something so good that tomorrow’s leftovers are in jeopardy.  That is tonight.  I made a lasagna – which of course brings to mind lots of richness, and heavy sauces – perfect for a cold evening, so I intenionally made about half a batch to deter eating a gigantic pan all by my lonesome.  Cause, let’s be honest…girl can eat.

Anyway, I have saved and bookmarked about two thousand recipes (that’s a very conservative estimate), and a lot of those come from a tried-and-true favorite, Martha Stewart.  Years ago, I subscribed to her “Everyday Food” magazine (also available at most grocery store checkouts).  This is great for a beginner in the kitchen – the recipes are fairly simple, no real unusual ingredients.  But her “Living” magazine is more creative, the recipes are a little tougher, and can be very involved (yet delicious).  Both sources also culminate at her website – a great resource for any kitchen questions you might have (I reference it frequently; and in fairness, my other go-to resource is Food Network).  I also follow Martha on Facebook, and that’s where some random ideas live; it’s a virtual grab bag of culinary suggestions, and I love that they organize it by category:  10 one-pot meals, 25 shrimp recipes, 85 things you can do with chicken!  Be careful, you can lose yourself in there 😊 (www.marthastewart.com).

This randomness is how I found tonight’s recipe: Rich artichoke and mushroom lasagna.  I picked it because I had most of the ingredients on hand, and really, I can’t turn down anything with artichokes in it.  I made some slight changes – I didn’t roast the mushrooms (I tossed them in at the end with the mix in the skillet), I figured they’d bake in the dish just fine and I was not disappointed – great flavor without being mushy; I used regular lasagna noodles instead of no-boil.

las

http://www.marthastewart.com/338978/rich-artichoke-and-mushroom-lasagna

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds sliced cremini or button mushrooms
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 3 cups drained canned artichoke hearts (two 13.75-ounce cans)
  • 1/4 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh chives
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1 recipe Basic Bechamel Sauce
  • 8 no-boil lasagna noodles
  • 1 3/4 cups grated Parmesan (3 1/4 ounces)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees, with racks in middle and upper third. Divide mushrooms between two rimmed baking sheets. Toss each with 1 tablespoon oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake until tender, 20 minutes, stirring mushrooms and rotating sheets halfway through. Let sheets cool on wire racks.

  2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high. Add artichokes and cook, stirring occasionally, 4 minutes. Add lemon zest, chives, and thyme, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, 3 minutes. Transfer artichokes to a medium bowl.

  3. Spread 1 cup sauce in an 8-inch square baking dish. Top with 2 noodles. Layer with half the artichokes, then 1 cup sauce and 1/4 cup Parmesan. Top with 2 more noodles, half the mushrooms, 1 cup sauce, and 1/4 cup Parmesan. Repeat layering with remaining ingredients, reserving the last 1/4 cup Parmesan. Cover lasagna loosely with foil and bake on top rack until sauce is bubbling, 35 to 40 minutes. (Place a rimmed baking sheet on middle rack to catch any drippings.) Remove lasagna from oven and heat broiler. Sprinkle with reserved Parmesan and broil until cheese is browned and bubbling, 3 to 5 minutes. Let cool 20 minutes before slicing.

This is why I like cooking far more than baking.  Baking is so precise, and with cooking I can easily throw everything in a pot and forget about it.  With these types of recipes, feel free to tailor to your tastes and needs.  I didn’t roast the mushrooms, nor did I broil it (I was starving by then!).   But remember – good, quality recipes will always be delicious.  And if you need a good one, Martha Stewart is never a bad choice.

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