Monday, December 27, 2010

Asian-themed cooking without the fuss

Tonight I made my version of stir-fry for dinner. I have been thinking of trying to get into some asian-themed cooking and stir fry is something that I used to cook a lot in college so I decided to start there. In college, I would make some white sticky rice, a 20-minute time investment, which was huge for me then. And dumb some frozen stir-fry vegetables from a bag into a fry pan, heat them up, dump a little stir-fry or soy sauce on top of the veggies and rice, and dive in.

For my grown up but not-quite grown up take on this dish, I opted for fresh veggies and asian noodles instead of rice. I also decided to throw in a lot more veggies than the broccoli, cauliflower, and carrot frozen mixes I used to buy. At the grocery store I picked up some fresh broccoli, one red, one yellow, and one orange bell pepper, a bag of shredded carrots, and a bag of bean sprouts. I cooked all the vegetables, the asian noodles (I bought the clear glass-like noodles) and then tossed everything together. I also cut up chicken breast into small pieces sauteed them on the stove. I didn't use any seasonings beyond salt and pepper on either the vegetables or the chicken.

I still am not ready to dive into making asian sauces on my own. Seasonings in asian recipes cause for pastes and oils that I don't regularly stock in my (or I expect most Twenty-Somethings) beginner-cooking kitchens. I used a Kikkoman stir fry sauce that I bought in the asian section of the supermarket. I think that if you find a sauce that you love, it is a perfect way to dress stir fry and not have to keep loads of rarely used seasonings. This was my first time purchasing this brand and it wasn't my favorite. I am going to keep looking to find my perfect sauce.

Finally, I ate this meal with chopsticks :) For Christmas, my roommate gave me a new set of chopsticks that I was really excited to use. I still have a long way to go to master them, but I consider it a success that I was able to eat noodles with chopsticks. RICE would be another story. I will save that challenge for another day :)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

I wish I was having a party.

Blog posts like this make me wish I had a party to cook for.

Brownie that will change your life...

How can I not try this??

Sunday, December 19, 2010

I forgot to take a picture of my actual plate...

TONS of leftovers, including lunch tomorrow!! YUM!

Also... to make this a little classier for guests or something. You are supposed to serve with parmesean cheese on top but what I like to do is bake little parmesean crisps in the oven. All you do is make a small pile of cheese and bake for 10 minutes (I did it at 425 but I am sure you can bake at whatever and just adjust the time). You get this crispy delicious cheese crisp that you can place on top of the bowl and it looks and tastes fantastic!

Chicken and Vegetable Tortellini Stew

2 medium carrots, sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 3/4 inch pieces
1 medium bulb fennel, chopped
1 can cannellini beans (19 oz), drained & rinsed
1 3/4 cup chicken broth
2 cups water
1 package of cheese filled tortellini (9 oz)
1 cup firmly packed fresh baby spinach leaves
2 medium green onions, sliced
1 teaspoon dried basil leaves
2 tablespoons fresh grated parmesean cheese
salt + pepper

1. Spray a slow cooker with cooking spray. Layer carrots, garlic, chicken, fennel, and beans in slow cooker. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pour broth and water on top, stir to mix.

2. Cover. Cook on low heat 6-8 hours.

3. About 20 minutes before serving, stir in tortellini, spinach, onions, and basil. Increase heat setting to high. Cover. Cook 15-20 minutes longer or until tortellini is tender. Sprinkle with cheese.


Dinner is cooking as we speak. Or as I type. Bundled under a blanket watching "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" -- Dinner in 2 hours!