Sunday, December 19, 2010

Toasted Spiced Chickpeas

We have all been suffering with colds and flu so I decided it was high time for a spicy meal (trouble was, I really didn't feel like cooking!)  So I decided the pulses are quick and easy to cook, and filling ~ perfect!
My friend Andrea had given me a book last year entitled "Indian Food Made Easy" by Anjum Anand and it is fabulous!!  I got this recipe from her book and ALL of us thoroughly enjoyed fact we had seconds!

2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 - 3/4 (depending on your taste!) tsp of red chili powder
1 1/4 tsp ground coriander
3/4 tsp garam masala
400g can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
Salt to taste
2 tbsp boiled water
Handful of fresh coriander leaves, chopped
  • Heat the oil in a large skillet.  Add the cumin seeds and fry for about 30 to 40 seconds, or until they give off their aroma and start to darken.
  • Add the remaining spices and salt and cook for 10 seconds.  Add the chickpeas and stir to coat well in the spices.  Saute for 2 minutes, then add the water and coriander leaves.  Cook for a further minute and serve!
*I didn't have the fresh coriander leaves, but the chickpeas were delicious without it still!*

Minted Bulgur With Pomegranates

I spied this recipe in the latest "Chatelaine" magazine and since I had all the ingredients, thought I would give it a whirl ~ and boy am I glad I did!!!  Not only is this super-easy to put together, but it is chewy and tastes great hot or cold.  Pomegranates are in season now and bulgur is as easy to use as couscous but has far more nutrients!

1 tbsp butter
1 small onion, finely diced
1 cup coarse, uncooked bulgur
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
Zest from one lemon
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds (approx. 1/2 pomegranate)
1/4 cup sliced almonds
2 tbsp chopped fresh mint, or 1 tsp dried
  • Melt the butter in a large saucepan and saute the onion, bulgur and cinnamon for approx. 1 min.
  • Add the chicken broth and bring it to a boil.  Reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, until all the liquid is absorbed and the bulgur is tender (approx. 15 mins)
  • Stir in the lemon zest and juice with the pomegranate seeds and almonds. 
  • Remove from heat and sprinkle with the mint before serving!
*This dish is delicious both as a side dish warm, or room temperature as a salad!  To remove the pomegranate seeds, simply slice the pomegranate in half lengthwise.  Hold it cut-side down over a bowl and hit the skin side firmly with a wooden spoon.  The seeds will drop right out!!*

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Slow Cooker Beef Stew

I am having a bit of a love affair with my slow cooker lately!  I just enjoy being able to plop all the ingredients into it, covering the dish and leaving it all day.  When it is dinnertime, VOILA!  Dinner is ready and I'm not spending tons of time in the kitchen (instead I am using it much more effectively by helping the kids do their homework...sigh!) 
This is one of my go-to easy peasy beef stews which has a changeable recipe depending on what root vegetables I have.  Sometimes for kicks I throw in parsnips, sweet potatoes, and turnips!  Experiment with whatever you have in your vegetable bin and try it for yourself!

2 lbs stewing beef, in 1/2" cubes
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
 1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 cups beef stock
1 garlic clove, chopped or minced
1 bay leaf
4 carrots, diced (or 1 lb bag of whole baby carrots)
2 onions, diced
1 rib celery, diced
3 potatoes diced in 1" cubes
2 cups tomatoes, diced

  • Place meat in the slow cooker. 
  • Combine flour, salt, and paprika in a small bowl.  Stir into meat until coated well.
  • Gently stir in remaining ingredients, combining well.
  • Cover.  Cook on low for 8 to 10 hours, or high for 3 to 4 hours.
  • Stir well before serving and ENJOY!
*I generally prepare this in the morning so I can cook it on low - I just find that this low and slow cooking style makes the beef far more tender than cooking it on high!*

Ginger Chicken Stir-Fry

This is one of those super-easy, mid-week meals that you can get on the table almost faster than it takes the rice to cook!  Also a little ginger at this time of year is always a good idea!!!

1 egg white, beaten
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp cornstarch
1/8 tsp white pepper
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1" pieces
1/2 tsp cornstarch
2 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp granulated sugar
1 tbsp plus 2 tsp oil, divided (I have been using "Olys" which is derived from cereal grains, but you can use vegetable or peanut oil)
1 medium green bell pepper, julienned
3 green onions, cut into 1" lengths
1/2 cup canned bamboo shoots, finely chopped
3 tsp minced fresh gingerroot
1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted (I didn't have any almonds this time, but usually add them!)

  • In a large resealable plastic bag, combine the egg white, soy sauce, cornstarch and white pepper.  Add chicken, seal bag and turn to coat.  Refrigerate for 30 mins.
  • Combine the cornstarch, vinegar, soy sauce and sugar until smooth;  set sauce aside.
  • Drain chicken and discard marinade.  In a large skillet (or wok), stir-fry chicken in 1 tbsp oil until no longer pink.  Remove from the pan and set aside.
  • Stir-fry green pepper and onions in remaining oil for 2 minutes.  Add bamboo shoots and ginger; stir-fry 3 to 4 mins. longer or until vegetables are crisp tender.
  • Stir sauce mixture and add to pan.  Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. 
  • Add chicken and heat through.  Sprinkle with almonds and stir to combine.  Remove from heat.
  • Serve over warm rice!
*I usually buy my gingerroot when it's on sale in the grocery store and then store it in the freezer so it lasts, is easy to grate using my rasp, and I always have it on hand.  Don't leave it out of the freezer too long though, as it will go mushy!!*