Showing posts with label 30 minute meal. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 30 minute meal. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Eat Twice - Quick and Easy, Vegetable-Chicken Congee-Style Rice Bowl

We've all been there. One hand holds the refrigerator door open as we stare into the brightly illuminated emptiness. We're hungry. We want something that doesn't take much time to prepare.

Where are all the great things to eat? What happened to the chicken and dumplings we made a few days ago? Oh, yeah, we finished that off at lunch. What about the brown sugar pork ribs that were so delicious? The crispy fried chicken? The roasted artichokes? Oh, yeah, all gone.

We could make a salad, but there's no Little Gem lettuce, no arugula, not even Italian parsley. We meant to go to the market. There just wasn't time.


But all is not lost. There's a container of steamed rice we brought home from a meal at the Chinese restaurant. There aren't any leafy greens in the vegetable bin, but there are a few things from last weekend's farmers market. A carrot, an onion, an ear of corn, a dozen English pea pods, a few mushrooms and a bunch of kale.

To make what I have in mind, we need homemade stock. A quick look in the freezer and, yes!, there's a container of chicken stock we made with the left over chicken from the Peruvian restaurant. Maybe our prospects aren't so bleak.

Eat Twice

The key to unlocking this deliciousness is repurposing or more specifically re-imagining what was served up for one meal that can be magically transformed into another.

One of my favorites is a richly flavored rice dish that uses freshly cooked rice or, in the spirit of Eat Twice, rice brought home after a meal at our favorite Vietnamese or Chinese restaurant.

The dish is a cousin of Asian congee, traditionally a soupy, pale white, savory morning bowl of boiled rice mixed with a protein. The version I want you to try is vibrant, colorful and richly layered with flavors and textures.

Use farmers market vegetables to give the dish a crisp freshness. Homemade stock braises the rice to create a comforting creaminess (without using cream).

I always use a mix of vegetables, especially shiitake mushrooms, onions, carrots, broccoli, corn kernels and English peas when they are available. For my pescatarian wife, I use homemade vegetable stock and add tofu or freshly deveined shrimp.

For me, I love a mix of cooked chicken and chopped up shumai, those wonderful pork filled dumplings served as a dim sum dish, or bbq pork sparerib meat cut off the bone and chopped into bite-sized pieces.


I also like using broccoli leaves. At the farmers market, many people peel off the leaves and leave them on the table. With the farmer's permission, I scoop them up, a treasure waiting to flavor my dishes. The stems should be cut into thin rounds. The leaves should be shredded. They are delicious.

In the summer, I use a medley of warm weather vegetables like corn and English peas. In colder weather, I rely on squash, sturdy leafy greens like kale and broccoli.


Vegetable and Chicken Congee

Convenient and versatile, left-over rice may feel dry to the touch but introduce a hot liquid and the grains plump up and return their former deliciousness.

Use any kind of rice you enjoy except wild rice.

If using freshly cooked rice, the time needed to cook the rice will be much less so add the rice to the simmering broth at the last minute so the grains do not absorb too much liquid and become soggy.

Use any vegetables you enjoy.

Homemade stock is preferable because it will be lower in sodium content and you can control the quality. And, it is less expensive than store bought canned or frozen stock. 

For a vegan version, use vegetables and vegetable broth.

For a spicy version, include 1 cup finely chopped kimchi.

Yield: 4

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 15-20 minutes

Total time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

4 cups cooked rice

4 cups stock, preferably homemade

2 cups cooked chicken meat, deboned, roughly chopped

6 leaves kale, washed, pat dried, stems removed, cut into a small pieces or 6 large broccoli leaves, stems finely sliced into rounds, leaves shredded

1 cup broccoli stems and florets, cut into small pieces

1 cup corn kernels (when available)

1 large carrot, washed, peeled, cut into corn kernel sized pieces

1/2 cup shelled English peas, washed (when available)

1 medium yellow onions, washed, peeled, root and stem ends removed, cut into corn kernel sized pieces

6 large shiitake mushrooms, washed, pat dried, tip of the stem removed, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/4 teaspoon sea salt, ground fine

Pinch freshly ground black pepper

Pinch cayenne powder (optional)

Directions

In a large sauce pan, heat olive oil over medium flame. Add all vegetables. Sauté until lightly brown.

Add stock and chicken. Stir and simmer 10 minutes to combine flavors.


Season with sea salt, black pepper and cayenne (optional).

Add rice. Stir well to combine all ingredients.

Simmer. The cooking time will depend on the rice. If freshly cooked, the time is probably 5 minutes. If the rice needs reconstituting, probably 10 minutes.

Be careful not to overcook because the rice will become soggy.

Serve hot with enough liquid in the bowl that the rice is "wet".

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Italian Sausages and Roasted Tomatoes

With summer still months away, the tomatoes at the Farmers' Market leave something to be desired. Still juicy and fragrant, they lack the exquisite flavor of tomatoes ripened by the full heat of the sun.

And yet....

Roasted, with a little olive oil, seasoned with sea salt and black pepper, spring tomatoes add depth to a braise or stew. Traditional Italian recipes pair sausages with peppers and onions. Substituting roasted tomatoes for the peppers softens and sweetens the flavors. Adding pasta makes a main dish that is filling, economical, and easy-to-make.

Roasted Tomatoes

Yield: 1 quart

Time: 60 minutes

Ingredients

3 pounds tomatoes, washed, stems removed
1/4 cup olive oil
Sea salt and black pepper

Method

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the tomatoes on a Silpat or aluminum foil covered baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Season with sea salt and black pepper. Place in the oven
and roast for 60 minutes.

Use a rubber spatula to save the clear liquid, tomato essence that has accumulated on the baking sheet. Place the cooked tomatoes and the liquid into an airtight container. The tomatoes can be refrigerated for several days or frozen for months.

Italian Sausages and Roasted Tomatoes

Yield: 4 servings

Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

4 Italian sausages, washed, pat dry
1 quart roasted tomatoes, skins removed, roughly chopped
4 garlic cloves, skins removed, finely chopped
1/2 cup Italian parsley, washed, leaves only, finely chopped
2 medium yellow onions, washed, skins, tops, and stems removed
1/2 pound mushrooms, brown or shiitake, washed, thin sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 box pasta
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Sea salt and black pepper

Method

The sausages and pasta can be made ahead and reheated with the sauce or prepared simultaneously while you are sauteing the vegetables.

Brown the sausages either by grilling or roasting in a 400 degree oven. Remove and let cool so you can cut them into 1/2" thick rounds. Set aside.

Boil 4 quarts water with kosher salt. Add the pasta. Stir well to prevent sticking. Cook until al dente, about 10 minutes. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water. Drain the pasta and return to the cooking pot. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and the unsalted butter. Stir well. Season with sea salt and black pepper. Lightly cover with a sheet of aluminum foil. Set aside.

Saute the garlic, parsley, onions, and mushrooms with olive oil until lightly browned. Add the sausages, roasted tomatoes, and tomato liquid. Simmer 15 minutes, reducing the sauce by half.

Add the cooked pasta and 1/2 cup of the pasta water. Stir well to coat. Simmer for a few minutes.

Serve with freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese.

Variations

To the sauteed vegetables, add 2 cups spinach leaves, washed, stems removed, roughly chopped

For heat, use hot Italian sausages

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Keeping it Easy with Chicken Two Ways

Just because you want an easy-to-make meal doesn't mean you have to spend a lot or give up nutrition and flavor.

If you read the labels of prepared, canned, or frozen meals, you'll notice how much salt is added, not to mention additives with unpronounceable names. Learn a few seasoning tricks and one or two simple cooking techniques and you'll have a home cooked meal on the table in 30 minutes or less.

Adding a few herbs and spices makes an every day meal a treat. You can buy chicken parts or, to cut costs, cut up a whole chicken yourself. It's easy to do. Trimming off excess fat and skin ups the health-quotient.

Both dishes can be made ahead and reheated.

Garlic-Parsley Chicken Breasts

With one pan and practically no effort, you'll have a healthy meal on the table in 30 minutes. Serve the chicken sliced on top of buttered pasta, steamed rice, or roasted vegetables.

Yield: 4 servings

Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

4 chicken breast halves, boned, skinned, washed, and dried
1/2 cup Italian parsley, washed, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled, finely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Pinch of pepper
1 tablespoon sweet butter

Method

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Melt the butter in the saute pan. Dredge the chicken breasts in olive oil seasoned with sea salt and black pepper

Put the breasts in the heated pan, top with parsley and garlic, drizzle with olive oil, and bake for 30 minutes.

Slice the breasts and plate. Use a rubber spatula to remove the drippings, garlic, and parsley and spoon onto the slices before serving.

Mushroom-Vegetable Chicken Ragout

Braising takes a little more cooking time, but very little effort and it adds a lot of flavor. In only a few minutes the meat and vegetables lightly brown, bringing out their natural sweetness. Now all you have to do is add water or stock, simmer until tender, and you'll be serving your family the most delicious comfort food ever.

While the braise simmers, put on the timer. You're free to do whatever else you want. Play with the kids, watch a little TV, read a book, or coodle with your sweetie. When the timer goes off, call everyone to the dinner table, sit down and have a feast.

Yield: 4 servings

Time: 60 minutes

Ingredients

2 chicken legs, skin removed, deboned, roughly chopped
2 chicken thighs, skin removed, deboned, roughly chopped
2 chicken wings, tips removed, cut apart at the joint
4 garlic cloves, skins removed, finely chopped
4 shallots or 1 medium yellow onion, peeled, roughly chopped
2 carrots, washed, peeled, cut into thick rounds
1 bunch parsley, washed, stems removed, finely chopped
1 large Yukon Gold potato, washed, cut into chunks
4 shiitake or brown mushrooms, washed, thinly sliced

Method

Heat the olive oil in a large sauce pan, season with sea salt and pepper, saute the chicken until lightly browned. Remove from the pan, drain on paper towels, set aside.

Saute the garlic, shallots, mushrooms, carrots, parsley, and potatoes until lightly browned. Return the chicken to the pan. Add 3 cups of water. Simmer for 45 minutes until the meat is tender. There should be 1 cup of broth. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Continue simmering another 10 minutes.

Serve with steamed spinach or broccoli.

Variations

Instead of using potatoes, serve over rice

Add spinach leaves

Add cut up celery

Thursday, October 29, 2009

An Easy 30 Minute Meal: Arugula Salad with Avocado & Sauteed Fish with Olives and Tomatoes

When you're pressed for time, the last thing most people want to do is cook. Coming home after a hard day at the office or dealing with kids and errands, the kitchen can seem unwelcoming.

You're hungry. It's dark outside. The house is cold. You open the freezer and stare at the frozen dinner you bought two months ago but never nuked. A can of chicken noodle soup in the pantry holds the promise of a warm meal but a quick read of the label tells you that the salt content is high enough to brine a Thanksgiving turkey.

Your mind tries to convince you that you aren't all that hungry. Maybe all you really want is a glass of wine and a bowl of dry cereal.

But you are hungry and you'd feel a lot better if you had a home cooked meal.

The truth is all it takes is a little planning and a couple of easy-to-make recipes and you'll actually look forward to coming home and cooking dinner. Ok, maybe that's a little Pollyannaish, but you get the idea.

First things first.

Stop at a farmers' market or the grocery store and buy a few essentials: fresh fruit (maybe a bunch of grapes, a pear, an apple or stone fruit), a leafy green (romaine or arugula), carrots, a basket of tomatoes (if they're still in season), a bunch of Italian parsley, spinach or kale, a clove of garlic, a couple of onions, some fresh fish or organic meat, and whatever else looks good to you.

When you get home at night, don't go straight into the kitchen.

Get out of your work clothes, wash your face, and slip into something comfy. Now when you go into the kitchen, you'll be re-energized. Give yourself 30 minutes to make dinner.

Here are two ideas to help get you started.

Arugula Salad with Avocado and Croutons

Yield: 4 servings

Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

2 bunches farmers' market fresh arugula, washed, pat dried, stems removed
1 carrot, peeled, ends trimmed, cut into thin rounds
1 medium sized avocado, peeled, roughly chopped
1 scallion, washed, ends removed, green and white parts thinly sliced
1/4 cup croutons, preferably home made
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
Sea salt and pepper

Method

In a small saucepan, over a very low flame, slowly reduce the balsamic vinegar to 2 teaspoons. 5-10 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Tear the arugula into bite-sized pieces and put into the bottom of a salad bowl. Add the other vegetables and croutons. Toss well.

Drizzle with olive oil and the reduced balsamic vinegar. Season with sea salt and pepper. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

Variations

Add 1/4 cup chopped tomatoes

Add 4 pieces crispy bacon, chopped

Add 1/4 pound grilled shrimp, roughly chopped

Add 1/4 cup fresh grapefruit sections, peeled

Fish with a Spanish Accent

Yield: 4 servings

Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

2 pounds white fish--sole, swordfish, halibut, flounder--washed, deboned, skin removed
1 medium yellow onion or 4 shallots, washed, skins removed, roughly chopped
4 garlic cloves, skins removed, roughly chopped
1/4 cup green or black Mediterranean olives, pitted, roughly chopped
1/2 cup Italian parsley
1/4 cup fresh corn kernels
1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon capers
1/4 teaspoon Spanish paprika
Sea salt and pepper
1/4 cup olive oil

Method

Cut the fish into squares roughly 2" by 2". Put half the olive oil on a plate, season with paprika, sea salt and pepper, dredge the pieces of fish in the oil and put aside.

In a large frying pan saute all the vegetables and herbs, except the tomatoes, with the remaining olive oil until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Because of the capers, additional salt may not be needed. Then, push them to one side of the pan to make room for the fish.

Pour the seasoned olive oil from the plate into the frying pan. Add the pieces of fish and saute until lightly browned on one side, about 5 minutes. Carefully turn over the pieces and spoon the saute over the top of the fish while the other side cooks.

Top with the chopped tomatoes and continue cooking another 4-5 minutes.

Serve hot with a salad or a side dish of sauteed vegetables--garlic spinach or steamed broccoli for example.

Variations

Substitute fresh cilantro for the Italian parsley

Add 1/4 teaspoon pepper flakes to the saute

Finish with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice

Monday, July 20, 2009

Another 30 Minute Meal: Ginger-Soy Black Cod

Black cod cooked in a ginger-soy poaching liquid is a deceptively simple dish that cooks up quickly and has deeply satisfying flavors. Popularized by the Iron Chef, Masaharu Morimoto, his complicated recipe can be simplified with excellent results.

The fish can be served with steamed rice and simply braised or sauteed vegetables like spinach with garlic and shiitake mushrooms.

Ginger-Soy Poached Black Cod

The ginger-soy poaching liquid can be reused several times.

After the fish has been cooked and all solids removed, the liquid can be kept in the freezer in an air-tight container for several months.

When you want a quick meal, defrost the poaching liquid, simmer, add the black cod pieces, cover, and you'll have a meal on the table in 10 minutes.

Yield 4 servings

Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

2 pounds black cod fillets, washed, pat dried
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 1/2 cups soy sauce
1/4 cup mirin
2 cups sake
2" piece of ginger, peeled, julienned

Method

Carefully inspect the fillets for bones. There will probably be a row in the middle of the fillet.

Using a sharp knife, slice along the bones and remove in a long strip. Don't throw out the strip because it can be marinated in olive oil, sea salt, and pepper and roasted in the oven or grilled on a bbq. Have the bones as a cook's treat.

Cut the fillets into rectangles 1 1/2" x 2" for easier handling.

In an uncovered large pan or dutch oven, create the poaching liquid by simmering together the sugar, soy sauce, mirin, sake, and ginger for 10 minutes. Add the black cod pieces, cover, and simmer 5 minutes.

Remove the cod with a slotted spoon and set aside. Reserve 2 cups of the poaching liquid, straining and pouring the remainder into a sealed container and freeze.

Return the cod and 2 cups of poaching liquid to the pan, reduce and thicken over high heat, spooning the thickening sauce over the cod, about 5 minutes.

Serve immediately with steamed rice or sauteed garlic spinach with shiitake mushrooms.

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