Turkey Tacos

Tacos in our house usually means fish tacos however some of our friends can’t do seafood so we try to provide an alternative. I was able to make this an hour or so before dinner and keep it warm in the slow cooker while I worked on other parts of the menu.

Turkey Tacos
Servings: 4-6
Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 tsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 small onion, 1/4″ dice
  • 1 pkg. ground turkey (that equals 20 oz. at my mega-mart)
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic, pressed or minced fine
  • 2 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp. dried Mexican oregano
  • 1/4 tsp. ground chipotle
  • 3/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 3/4 cup no salt added chicken broth
  • 2 tsp. brown sugar
  • 3 tsp. cider vinegar

Directions:

  1. Place the garlic and spices in a bowl; set aside. Combine the tomato sauce, broth, brown sugar and vinegar in a measuring cup; set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a non-skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion, stir to coat with oil and cook for about 4 minutes until softened.
  3. Add the garlic and spices to the skillet. Stir to incorporate with the onions and cook until aromatic, about a minute.
  4. Add the ground turkey, break into pieces, sprinkle with salt and pepper and cover. Cook for a minute, break into smaller pieces and cover. Cook for another 2 minutes, break up large pieces again and cook uncovered for a final couple of minutes until the turkey is no longer pink.
  5. Reduce heat to medium-low, add the liquid ingredients and cook uncovered for about 10 minutes. Stir every minute or so and continue to break up any larger pieces of turkey.
  6. Serve up with your favorite taco fixin’s.

Notes:
This recipe is based on a recipe for Beef Tacos from a May 2002 issue of Cook’s Illustrated.

Advertisements

Chicken and Peppers with left-over Chinese takeout rice

Whenever we get a Chinese takeout order over $35 the restaurant adds a small order of white rice and a small order of over-steamed broccoli. The broccoli ends up in the compost pile however the rice usually ends up in the fridge for a couple of weeks before it is dumped in the trash as questionable.

We enjoyed Chinese takeout last Friday night so I knew the rice was “fresh”. So I crafted this recipe to make use of it along with some chicken breasts I had defrosted over the weekend.

Chicken and Peppers with left-over Chinese takeout rice
Servings: 4
Prep time: 30 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp. fish sauce
  • 1 tsp. toasted sesame oil, plus extra for drizzling at the end
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 2 chicken breast (about 1 lb.), cut into 3/4″ cubes
  • 3 Tbsp. peanut oil, divided
  • 2 bell peppers, cut into 3/4″ squares
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and cut into 3/4″ squares
  • 1 sm. container leftover Chinese takeout rice (or 2 cups day old plain white rice)
  • 1 bunch scallions, whites finely chopped and greens cut on the bias into 3/4″ pieces
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. Combine soy sauce, vegetable oil, fish sauce, sesame oil, coriander, a pinch of kosher salt and 10 grinds of black pepper in a bowl. Added diced chicken. Use hands to coat chicken with marinade ingredients. Cover with plastic wrap and rest in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.
  2. Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of peanut oil in a non-stick skillet over high heat until shimmering. Added onions and peppers to the skillet; toss to coat in oil and evenly distribute. Ignore for 2 minutes. Toss or stir to redistribute. Ignore for another 2 minutes. Toss or stir to redistribute. Ignore for another minute. Edges should be lightly colored and onions should be opaque. Transfer to a bowl and cover; set aside.
  3. Add remaining oil to the skillet and return to the burner over high. When wisps of smoke start coming up from the oil add the marinaded chicken. Shake to evenly distribute and ignore for 5 minutes. Break up chicken pieces that may have clung to one another and toss to redistribute. Cook for another 4-5 minutes.
  4. While the chicken cooks microwave the rice for 1 minute just to take the chill off of it.
  5. After 9-10 minutes of total cooking time check temp on a largish chicken piece. If it is less than 160° continue cooking, checking every 30 seconds until you hit the mark. Once over 160° add the cooked vegetables along with the leftover rice. Stir to incorporate and cook for another 2 minutes to allow the rice to heat through.
  6. Taste and adjust salt, pepper and toasted sesame oil as desired. Sprinkle with chopped scallions and serve.

Notes:
When frying in a shallow skillet we try to use an inexpensive splatter screen to keep the walls from getting an oil bath.

Don’t want to get your hands extra dirty by mixing the chicken with the marinade? Toss the chicken in a zip-top bag, wash your hands, add the marinade ingredients, seal the bag and squish the chicken around until everything is well and rightly coated.

You can totally use all peanut oil in the recipe, no need to have both vegetable oil and peanut oil out. Both are handy when I cook and I was making it up as I go. I do prefer peanut oil for high heat frying.

Black Bean Soup

In the fall one of my weeknight go-to meals is soup. It’s mostly a combine and simmer effort which is perfect after a day at work and the diminishing light of the day.

Black Bean Soup
Servings: 4-6
Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 75 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 medium red onion, 1/4″ dice
  • 2 Tbsp. dark brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp. ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 14.5 oz. can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 15 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 1 6 oz. can tomato paste
  • 2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 2 15 oz. cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • yogurt, diced avocado, chopped cilantro (optional)

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in a dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add onions and a generous pinch of salt. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes until tender. Add brown sugar, spices and garlic. Stir to combine and heat until fragrant; 1 to 2 minutes.
  2. Add tomato products, broth and orange juice. Stir until tomato paste is incorporated. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add black beans, stir to incorporate and cook for 20 more minutes. Beans should be heated through and slightly softened.
  4. Taste for seasoning; adjust if needed. Serve with in a bowl with your choice of toppings.

Notes:
This recipe is based on one I found while sorting through the stack of recipes that get printed out, made once and forgotten. I’ve tweaked the original recipe to match my preferences and written up my version of the instructions.

The original recipe apparently came from Southern Living magazine circa 2008.

Cucumber Salad

Summer is a season of abundant local produce. Not a week goes by without fresh tomatoes from the garden and gifts of cukes and summer squash from friends and co-workers. We do our best to use it all before it needs to be donated back to the compost pile. Salad is a fine way to consume fresh veggies as long as you, or your friends, will eat the salad. 🙂 This simple, lettuce free, salad comes together quickly and went well with grilled chicken.

[Cucumber Salad]

Continue reading

Pinto and and Black Beans with Tomatoes

Pinto and and Black Beans with Tomatoes
Servings: 10-12
Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 onions, 1/4″ dice
  • 2 bell peppers, 1/4″ dice
  • 1 long pepper (such as a pasilla or Anaheim), 1/4″ dice
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 2 x 15.5 oz. Pinto Beans (low sodium if possible)
  • 1 x 15.5 oz. Black Beans (low sodium if possible)
  • 1 x 28 oz. Diced Tomatoes
  • kosher salt and black pepper

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium hot until shimmering. Add onions & peppers along with a generous pinch of salt. Stir to coat and cook until slightly softened, about 5 minutes.
  2. While the vegetables cook drain and rinse the beans. Drain most of the liquid from the tomatoes as well.
  3. Add the garlic powder, paprika, cumin and coriander to the cooked vegetables and stir to incorporate. Cook for 30 seconds to a minute until the spices are fragrant.
  4. Add the tomatoes, beans and about half a cup of water. Mix everything together. Bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and cook for ~20 minutes.
  5. Taste and adjust salt, pepper, etc. to your liking.

Vegetable Curry

This recipe takes some time to prep and assemble. Once you get it in the pot you can mostly concentrate on other things though. I think it is worth the time and effort.

Vegetable Curry
Servings: 12+
Prep time: 60 minutes
Total time: 90 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 3 lg. red onions, roughly chopped
  • 2 red bell peppers, cored and roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup minced ginger
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 3 Tbsp. ground turmeric
  • 1 Tbsp. ground cumin
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 heaping tsp. kosher salt
  • 3 Tbsp. peanut oil
  • 3 lbs. carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4″ slices (on the bias)
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 15 oz. lite coconut milk
  • 1 head cauliflower, cored and cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • 1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 2 cups frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro or parsley (optional)

Directions:

  1. Place onions in a food processor and pulse until finely cut. Transfer to a bowl.
  2. Place peppers in the food processor and pulse until finely cut. Transfer to a strainer to remove as much moisture as possible.
  3. Combine the spices in a bowl and stir until well blended.
  4. Prep remaining vegetables and set aside.
  5. Heat a large dutch oven over medium heat for 3 minutes, or until smoking.
  6. Add the onions and drained peppers along with a good pinch of kosher salt. Stir in the oil to coat and allow to cook for ~5 minutes until softened. Add the ginger and garlic; cook until aromatic, about 30 seconds, a minute at most.
  7. Add the spice blend and stir into the onions/peppers. Allow to cook for about a minute, stirring a few times to prevent burning.
  8. Add the carrots and vegetable broth. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook for 5 minutes
  9. Add the coconut milk, cauliflower and drained tomatoes. Bring back to a simmer, recover and cook for 15 minutes
  10. Add the frozen peas and cook to heat them through, about 5 minutes.
  11. Garnish with chopped cilantro or parsley (if desired).

Notes:
You may ask why I process the the onions and peppers separately. I found that the peppers produced so much liquid when chopped in the food processor that I wanted to strain that off so the dish didn’t have to work at evaporating the liquid. I actually took the pepper liquid, and the drained tomato liquid, combined them in a small pan, and simmered them until they reduced to about 1/3 of the original volume. I added that into the curry along with the coconut milk. I really didn’t notice them in the final product so I left that out of the recipe text.

This recipe is adapted from a great book I picked up years ago named Something for Everyone. The premise was to provide recipes that would make a dish for a family of vegetarians and non-vegetarians from one recipe. It appears to no longer be in print.

Baked Samosas

Samosas are basically a potato patty covered in dough. They are typically deep fried and can be served with chutney or yogurt. I made these as part of menu this past Saturday night and wanted something baked rather than fried. I love these fried however I didn’t want to stand next to a pot of hot oil for as long as it would take to cook enough of these to feed our usual crowd.

[Baked Samosas]

After a bit of web searching I settled on this recipe. After making several guesses to make up for missing info in the recipe the end result was something that looked a bit like a small pita pocket filled with a tasty filling. All but 3 of 24 were consumed by 8 people, including 3 kids, as part of a large meal. I consider that a success.

Recipe under the cut