When Less Is More: Tikka Chicken and Onion Stir Fry Over Affordable Saffron Rice

When Less Is More... Tikka Chicken and Onion Stir Fry Over Affordable Saffron Rice
Sometimes the grand meals I plan in my mind turn out much more simply in real life based on what I have in my frig and in my pantry. The reality is, sometimes less is more. This is one of those dishes where a few spices create a grand meal with complimentary textures and layers of flavors. 
This dish would make a great mid-week meal or Friday night meal when everyone is super tired. Let's get to it, shall we?
Affordable Saffron Rice
Go the the Mexican spices section of your local grocer. Many are starting to carry a Saffron Flower package that is slightly more expensive than the rest of the brands' spices but just as aromatic as the major expensive Spanish Saffron.  Look for the El Guapo packagingTM*.  
If you do not have access to the above listed brand, or something like it, using the expensive but always perfect Spanish Saffron (which I also have) is fine!
Add a pinch (1/2 teaspoon) Saffron strands …

Sausage and Ricotta Stuffed Pasta Shells Finished in Pomodoro Sauce

Sausage and Ricotta Stuffed Shells finished in Pomodoro Sauce

Sometimes, holidays do not go as planned and adjustments made last minute.  I was having Thanksgiving dinner at my place, but half of our little family unit were ill, two others dining elsewhere, so that left my mom and I. We decided to put it off till later.  I needed to do Something for dinner and decided on stuffed jumbo pasta shells. It was a handy pantry item and, with a little of this and a can of that, I created an delicious and satisfying meal with leftovers for a fantastic lunch today.  This is such an easy meal to prep, minimal dishes to wash after, with complex textures and amazing flavors.  Let's get started, shall we?
Shells Stuffing
1 box jumbo shells 2 cups ricotta cheese 1 + 1 rounded tablespoons combined fresh basil, rosemary, thyme, sage and oregano, finely chopped* 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper 2 tablespoons finely grated parmesan cheese 2/3 pounds Italian Turkey Sausage Evoo, two tablespoons

My Pomodoro (T…

Mother Hubbard Empty Cupboard Pantry Meal: Tortellini with Fresh Tomatoes and Herbs

My Mother Hubbard Empty Cupboard   Pantry Meal: Tortellini with Fresh Tomatoes and Herbs
As a teacher on a single income, the last week of the month oftentimes is very lean.  Food is not lavish, but more pantry meals. October was an extremely tight month and the day before Halloween was the very last meal my cupboard pantry and refrigerator could muster. I made the most and best of it, though, and with the help of my friends, Anne and Chase, Thanks Friends!, I made a fulfilling and delicious extreme pantry meal. The LAST pantry meal.
I had a bag of Tortellini in my freezer and though I had intended to have it this day, that day and the other day, I kept putting it off.  So glad I did!  It was the Last usable item in my freezer and refrigerator. I had no more tomato based products, so the sauce was going to have to be something else. But, I did have butter!  So, brown butter sauce was part of the menu.  Problem:  I did not have fresh sage, no money to get any, and no friends have it growin…

Marinated, Grilled, Sliced Flank Steak and Pesto Farfalle Pasta

Steak and Pesto Farfalle Pasta
Last week I was asked to cook for a dear friend's family twice and I had the pleasure of cooking this for them last Tuesday.  I had marinated a deliciously seasoned flank steak I'd purchased from our local butcher, grilled it, let it rest and sliced it.  So soft and delicious! I'd made farfalle pasta, otherwise known as bow tie pasta, added fresh tomatoes, fresh torn basil and pesto to it and tossed it in butter for flavor and a sheen.  What a delicouis meal with a built in salad!
Let's get started, shall we?
Flank Steak Marinade
1 flank steak 2 cloves garlic, grated 1/4 onion, grated dried or fresh rosemary, thyme, oregano 4 leaves, fresh basil, finely chopped 4 tablespoons evoo white balsamic vinegar  1 Fresno chile, finely chopped salt and pepper
Place the steak into a gallon sized plastic zip-lock bag. Pour the marinade into the bag, zip the lock, smush the steak and marinade together so it coats the entire steak. Set it into the frig for as long …

Spicy Pot Roast

Martin's Spicy Pot Roast
In a series of recipe blog posts of firsts for me, I have prepared a recipe from my childhood but, you know me, I put my own spicy spin on it.  I prepared pot roast with the usual fixins, potatoes, carrots, onion and garlic, but also with fire roasted green chiles, chipotle in adobo, my Mexican spice blend, and braised it in Mexican beer. The braising aroma was insanely delightful. I made this with the flavors of Mexico so I could make several meals out of the leftovers. Tacos, burritos, and served with the potatoes in a more traditional style. 
Let's get started shall we?
1 pot roast steak 1 large white onion, coarsely chopped 1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, quartered 3 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled 1 pint beef stock 3 bottles (from a six pack) Mexican Beer (I used Pacifico) and a little for the cook! 3 tablespoons Mexican Spice Blend 1 carrot, grated or finely sliced
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 small cans fire roasted diced green chiles
1 rounded ta…

Chicken in Foil Packets

Chicken in Foil Packets
It's been a busy day, you and the kids are hungry, there is chicken thawed in the frig, but you still have more to do before you can even get to dinner!!!!!  
We've got this!  Got foil?  Got chicken?  Got a little cooking spray or extra virgin olive oil?  Have some spices or a spice packet?  Yes? Then we're good to go!  
I have a couple of chicken in foil recipes to share with you, but the reality is, you can do this with any cut of meat or vegetables or both!  Steak, chicken, pork, fish.....the possibilities are endless.  I have done this with steak and potatoes, which is a previous blog post.  I was tired, it was getting late and I did not feel like working over the hot stove. In my original recipe, I cubed a ribeye steak and tossed it in a bowl with baby potatoes and fresh herbs and garlic and spices.  I oven roasted it for thirty minutes at 350-degrees in a foil packet and it turned out perfect!  Now, let's see some chicken recipes!


Chile Rellenos with Spicy Spanish Rice and Black Bean Frijoles

Chile Rellenos with Spicy Spanish Rice and Black Bean Frijoles
I have been on a quest to try preparing dishes all new to me, something I have never prepped before.  I started with Swordfish Pasta, which was a great success.  If you recall, five years ago, my friend, Maria, and I made tamales. Maria taught me very well, but I scraped more masa off my walls than went into my tamales.  There are times when my dishes are successful and elegant and times when they are successful but not so pretty.  This is one of Those dishes. 
My first favorite Mexican food item was chile rellenos, a cheese stuffed fire roasted chile, seeded and gently fried or oven baked in an egg white batter.  Oh man, do I have stories about this dish!  It is why I call this a "learning" blog.  I think cooking, whether you are a Michelin starred chef, a line cook or a home cook, gastronomy changes all the time; it is a moving, living thing; the techniques and science behind it are always changing and refining.