Rotini with broccoli and tuna. 5/26/20

Much like last week’s penne with broccolini and mushrooms, this pasta dish uses items from your pantry and matches them with a fresh vegetable for a complete delicious meal. A little olive oil and some pasta water is all you need for sauce.

Rotini with broccoli and tuna.

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Instant Pot Palak Dal. 5/25/20

Our son has been encouraging us to try this dal (lentil) dish that he makes at home. The recipe he sent me Lentils with Spinach or Palak Dal was from America’s Test Kitchen and like many of their recipes had more steps and butter than I wanted to include. But he was right about my liking this dish and I enjoyed it a lot after combining three recipes, his ATK, my Chana dal, and a palak dal that I found from an Indian blogger. After sautéing spices, ginger, and garlic in my Instant Pot I added split chickpeas that had had a 30 minute soak, a can of tomatoes with chiles, and some water. I then pressure cooked it for 15 minutes. I let it lose pressure on its own for ten minutes and then vented the pot. At this point I added 5 cups of baby spinach, stirred it in, and it was time to eat. The rice soaked up the yummy broth and I had to go back for seconds.

Thanks, Jon, for the recommendation!

Instant Pot Palak Dal with dried split chickpeas and rice

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Weekly Menu. May 24 – 30, 2020

This week I am trying a couple of new recipes that seem more summery to me, Shrimp with sambal citrus dressing and a Spicy Thai pork tenderloin salad. It is going to be hot here this week and I am trying to avoid using the oven.

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Penne with broccolini and mushrooms. 5/23/20

If you are like me and trying to cut back on carbs or calories, you are probably trying to eat a smaller portion of pasta. It is sad I know to see that wee amount in your bowl. I make mine seem bigger by adding more vegetables! My two ounces of penne looks and eats much larger because I have added a bunch of broccolini with the stems diced, sautéed onions and sliced garlic, and mushrooms cooked to a golden brown. The liquid part of my sauce consists of pasta water and a teaspoon of olive oil. I finished mine with a sprinkling of parmesan but leave it out if you want a vegan dish. Be sure to season your pasta water and vegetables aggressively!

Penne with mushrooms and broccolini

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Two light choices for Memorial Day grilling. 5/21/20

Here are a couple of dinners we have made over the last couple of days. They would be the perfect light dishes for Memorial Day grilling.

Portobello mushroom burger with cole slaw and Texas caviar

The marinated and grilled mushroom is topped with a seared onion slice and a chiffonade of basil on an English muffin. I made the chopped coleslaw and Texas caviar mostly in the food processor. That is a scoop of Greek yogurt on the coleslaw.

Shrimp tacos with southwest cole slaw and Texas caviar

Shrimp taco

Skewer your shrimp and cook them quickly on a grill or just loose in a pan. I added cumin and hot sauce to my cole slaw for a more southwest spin. I have also added an unde-layer of spinach for additional nutrition and made a crema out of cumin, salt, and plain fat-free Greek yogurt.

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Sea bass with chickpea purée and parsley sauce. 5/19/20

Chilean sea bass with chickpea purée, parsley sauce, carrots and pearl onions

This dish turned out looking a little garish what with the bright oranges and greens but it was quite delicious—a lot of work for the person dealing with the vegetables, though. And that was me! The original recipe is from Food and Wine but contains a lot more fat than mine does. They say it is an easy Tuscan dish. It may be a Tuscan but it is not easy! (I would suggest making it as the recipe states first and then try using less oil the second time you make it. You need to know what it is supposed to taste like.)

John marinated the fish (any firm white fish will do) in some oil, salt, paprika, lemon zest, rosemary, and bay leaf for 30 minutes and roasted it in a 400F oven for 12 minutes, took its temperature, and gave it another 2 minutes. The internal temperature should be 122F.

Using a blender I buzzed up the parsley with some lemon juice, a teaspoon of oil,  a half cup of the aquafaba from the chickpea can ( to mimic the viscosity of olive oil), and then some chicken broth, quite a bit of salt, some rice wine vinegar, more lemon juice, until it tasted right.

After rinsing out the blender, I puréed the chickpeas with another teaspoon of olive oil, the rest of the aquafaba, lemon, rosemary, garlic, and another bunch of salt. Once again I dickered around with the ingredients until the consistency and taste was correct. The purée was then heated very slowly.

Finally I cut up a carrot and cooked it with some pearl onions, chopped rosemary and sliced garlic in a little faux butter and olive oil spray. While they were cooking I added salt and some chicken stock to glaze the onions.

And so, having used a baking dish, the blender, a pot, a frying pan, lots of utensils, and serving bowls, dinner was ready around 8 PM.  Whew!






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Chicken and rice with ginger/scallion sauce

I saw this recipe on the NYTimes Cooking site and it appealed to me because it seemed dead easy without much cleanup. Put white rice in a pot with chicken broth, some salt, and a tablespoon of grated fresh ginger. On top of that lay your seasoned boneless skinless chicken breast(s), bring to a boil, and then turn down to a simmer for around 20 minutes. The chicken is cooked and the rice is done at the same time. Then you serve the sliced up chicken breast on top of the rice and pour the scallion ginger sauce on top.

I played around with the sauce trying to make it less oily and more flavorful. This is what I came up with:  Scallion Ginger Sauce, 2 teaspoons vegetable oil, 1/4 cup chicken broth, 5 scallions thinly sliced, 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger, 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar, 1 spicy chile halved seeded and thinly sliced, 2 teaspoons toasted white sesame seeds, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar, 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce, 1/4 teaspoon fish sauce. Mix together.

To be honest the chicken and the rice could use a zippier flavor but the dish has potential. (Post photograph—We added sriracha to our finished dish to make it spicier.)

Chicken with rice and a scallion ginger sauce served with broccoli

Secret broccoli tip – mix a little oyster sauce in with your broccoli.



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