Posts Tagged ‘whole grain’

Coconut Curry Chicken and Baked Coconut Brown Rice

September 28, 2009

This is my third successful installment of 3 Mondays of $5 Dinner Challenges.  This means, each Monday I’ve been cooking a meal for 2 adults and 2 children for around $5.  Here’s the real challenge, though:  I do it while maintaining my commitment to eat mostly local and organic vegetables and humanely raised meats.  For this final meal, I made Coconut Curry Chicken and Baked Brown Rice for $6.96.

This meal was really fun to do because we don’t often do curries in our house.  It is a super simple recipe for the new-to-curry crowd that will impress your family.  The sweet coconut milk is perfectly suited to these warm savory spices.  Baking the rice assures a perfect result every time that doesn’t stick to the pan and is done without a rice cooker.  I used leeks, but it would be even easier and just as tasty made with onions and you can throw them in with the rest of the vegetables instead of having to cook separately like I did with the leeks.  Here’s how made this fantastic meal for just under seven dollars:

Prices and Products

  • 1 tbsp. expeller pressed canola oil: $0.10
  • 1 can (14.5 oz.) organic coconut milk: $0.50
  • 4 white mushrooms (0.15 lb.) : $0.47 (10% off)
  • 1/2 of an organic leek (0.275 lb.): $0.44
  • 1/2 of an organic carrot: $0.20 (10% off)
  • handful of organic snow peas: $0.45 (10% off)
  • small organic green bell pepper: $0.67 (10% off)
  • 2 tbsp. curry powder: $0.50
  • 1/2 tbsp. brown sugar: $0.01
  • 14.74 oz. organic, sustainably raised chicken: $2.81 (10% off)
  • 1 cup (uncooked) brown basmati:  $0.81
  • 1/2 tsp. salt: negligible

How I got these great deals:

  • The best deal of the day was the organic coconut milk which is normally more than two bucks a can.  Whole Foods was having a sale for $1.50 a can plus I had a dollar off coupon for any Thai Kitchen brand product (you can print this coupon from Yahoo Deals too – expires at the end of the year.)
  • I used my monthly 10% off coupon at PCC for all the groceries marked as “10% off” above.  It really does add up to some savings.  I would have done better on the veggies to go to the farmer’s market though.  Unfortunately there’s not time for that every week.


Coconut Curry Chicken and Vegetables

You will need:

  • 1/2 can coconut milk (about 7 ounces)
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 3/4 lb skinless, boneless chicken thigh meat (about 15 ounces before skinning and deboning), cut into large bite-size pieces 
  • 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1/2 of a leek (lengthwise half), sliced crosswise every 1/2 inch
  • 2 1/2 cups bite-sized pieces of vegetables (ex. mushrooms, carrot, bell pepper, snow peas)
  • 2 tbsp. curry powder
  • 1/2 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup fresh Thair basil (optional), rough chopped

Put it together:

  • Heat 1/2 tbsp. oil in wok (or large skillet) on medium heat.  When hot, add leeks and cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Transfer leeks to bowl and set aside.
  • Add 1/2 tbsp. oil to wok, still on medium heat.  When hot, add chicken and cook until no longer pink in the middle, stirring occasionally.  Transfer chicken to a bowl and set aside.
  • Bring coconut milk and water to simmer in wok on medium heat
  • Add brown sugar and curry powder and stir until well blended.
  • Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer 5 minutes.
  • Add in chicken and all vegetables except for the leeks.  Cook about 5 minutes or until the vegetables are tender-crisp.  Toss in leeks and serve.  Optional:  garnish with Thai basil

Baked Coconut Rice (Serves 4). 

You will need:

  • 2 T oil (e.g. Canola)
  • 1/2 can coconut milk (about 7 ounces)
  • 1 3/4 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup long grain brown rice (ex. basmati)

Put it together:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • In a saucepan, combine the coconut milk, water, salt, and sugar. Bring to a boil.
  • Wash rice. Lightly brown the rice in oil in a fry pan.  Transfer to a 1 1/2 quart ovenproof dish. 
  • Pour coconut milk mixture over the rice, take caution because this can create a lot of hot steam.
  • Bake covered for 50 to 60 minutes, until rice is tender and fluffy and moisture has been absorbed.

$5 Dinner Challenge: Olive Oil & Rosemary Chicken with Pearled Barley & Green Beans

August 31, 2009


“We are a one income family living in a two income world!” Erin, $5 Dinners

That quote really resonated with me and so I decided to challenge myself to three Mondays of $5 Dinner Challenges.  This means, each Monday I will cook a meal for 2 adults and 2 children for around $5.  Here’s the real challenge, though:  I will do it while maintaining my commitment to eat mostly local and organic vegetables and humanely raised meats.  For my inaugural meal, I made Olive Oil & Rosemary Chicken with Pearled Barley & Green Beans for $5.61.

The great thing about this meal is that it is one of the tastiest I’ve made lately.  The chicken was crispy and not over seasoned with a hint of rosemary.  The green beans were flavorful and crisp and since the barley was simmered in chicken stock, it complemented the meal perfectly.  Here’s how made this fantastic meal for just over five bucks:

Prices and Products

  • 1 tsp. finely chopped rosemary from my garden:  free
  • 1/2 tbsp. organic, cold pressed, Extra Virgin Olive Oil: $0.10
  • 1.09 lbs. chicken thighs (no animal byproducts or antibiotics in the animal’s feed or added hormones): $2.99
  • 1 cup dry organic pearled barley (each serving has 30% of your daily dietary fiber requirement): $0.69
  • 1 cup home-made organic, free range chicken stock with local veggies, good wine and home-grown herbs $0.76
  • 0.75 lb. local, pesticide-free green beans from farmer’s market: $1.07
  • Couple dashes of salt and pepper:  negligible

How I got these great deals:

  • I’d heard from my friend Elisa that the end of the day at the farmer’s market is a good time to bargain with the farmers, so I went ten minutes to closing and talked the farmer down from $2/lb to $1/lb on the green beans.
  • I told the butcher at Whole Foods about this really cool dinner challenge I was doing and he helped me pick out the pieces of chicken that were the best value and (don’t tell anyone!) did a little rounding down on the price.
  • I made the chicken stock from the left over carcass and offal from last week’s roast chicken, tasty wine that hubby found a great deal on, left over veggies from last week and herbs from my garden.


Rosemary and Olive Oil Chicken Thighs

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Combine 1/2 tbsp. olive oil, 1 tsp finely chopped rosemary and a dash each of sea salt and fresh ground pepper in a small bowl.
  • Wash and pat dry 1 lb bone-in, skin on chicken thighs.
  • Rub thighs with olive oil mix
  • Bake at 400 for about 45 minutes (until skin is golden brown and temp. is 165)

Barley Cooked in Chicken Stock

  • Cook 1 cup pearled barley according to instructions on package, replacing 1 cup of water with 1 cup of chicken stock (usually 1 cup dried barley for 3 cups liquid, simmer, covered for 1 hr 15 min.)

Steamed Green Beans

  • Cook 3/4 lb. green beans in steamer basket over one inch of water in covered pot on medium heat for about 5 minutes or until desired tenderness is reached, but color is still bright green.

New Episode Up: Making Red Sauce (Sunday Gravy)

July 1, 2009 

Our latest episode, Making Red Sauce, is up. Italian cook Vinny Pasceri shows us how to slow cook his versatile Sunday Gravy to use with pasta dishes like ziti, lasagna and manicotti.  The meatiness of Sunday gravy separates it from other red sauces, like marinara.

Vinny grew up in a Long Island Italian-American family with a passion for cooking.  His red sauce is influenced by all of the savory gravies his parents and grandparents simmered up during their family dinners every Sunday.  Watching this video, I’m sure the history and passion will inspire you to build your own tradition of great food and family. 

Here is a ziti recipe that I used the Sunday Gravy in.  Although not normally a fan of the graininess of whole grain pastas, the texture is good in ziti, since it gets cooked twice. 

Whole Wheat Baked Ziti

You will need:

Put it together:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Cook pasta until al dente and drain
  • Mix eggs, mozzarella, ricotta, pecorino in a large bowl  
  • Add pasta and sauce to cheese mixture
  • Put in pan(s)
  • Optional – Add 1/2 lb sliced mozzarella on top
  • Optional – Brown and mix in 1 lb ground Italian sausage
  • Cover with foil and bake 50 minutes at 400 degrees F.
  • Optional – Take foil off and brown 10 minutes

Sunshine Lemon Cake

June 22, 2009

Sunshine Cake 1

Sunshine Cake 2

Here is a sunny dairy-free cake I made for my friend’s birthday.  I used Bob’s Red Mill lemon poppy seed cake mix, the icing recipe from the back of the packet, and garnished with fresh lemon slices in the shape of a sunshine.  It’s a whole-grain mix, but still lighter in texture than most from-scratch recipes.  Here’s the lemon glaze recipe (I subbed Earth Balance DF Margarine for the butter):

“Whisk together 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, 3 Tbsp. melted butter, and 3 Tbsp. lemon juice.  Pour glaze over cake immediately.”

What’s the filling?  Ha, ha.  Well, I thought I could use a vanilla pudding mix with rice milk and just add some lemon juice and zest.  I use rice milk with this brand (Dr. Oetker’s) of chocolate pudding all the time and it comes out fine, but the vanilla pudding wouldn’t set.  Not having enough time to run to the store for ingredients for another filling, I just added gelatin.  It worked  out okay – although I wouldn’t do it again – and made for a very jiggly cake!

Happy Father's Day Cookies

June 21, 2009

Oatmeal… Hazelnut Butter… Double Chocolate Chips

Hazelnut Cookies

I have to give my husband serious props for this one.  I was making my usual 100% whole grain oatmeal cookies with walnut meal and he said, “You know what you should do… you should use hazelnut butter instead of walnuts.”  So that is exactly what I did and the result was a really gourmet treat. 

They’re called “Happy Father’s Day Cookies” instead of just “Father’s Day Cookies,” because I doubled the chocolate chips for my chocoholic hubby to enjoy on his first father’s day.  So here is my gift to all of you gourmet dads out there.


You will need:

  • 1 1/4 cups butter (2 1/2 sticks)
  • 1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup hazelnut butter
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon 
  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

Put it together:

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  • Cream butter and sugar, mix in egg, then mix in hazelnut butter
  • In small bowl, mix flour, baking powder and cinnamon
  • Slowly beat flour mixture into wet ingredients 
  • Scrape bowl and mix a few seconds longer
  • Add oatmeal and chocolate chips, mixing only until combined
  • Scoop batter onto cookie sheets and bake for 14 minutes (for chewier) to 17 minutes (for crunchier) or until light brown
  • Remove sheets from oven and allow to cool a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack

Makes about five dozen.

New Episode Up: Making Lard

April 2, 2009


Our latest episode, Making Lard, is up. If lard doesn’t excite you like it does us, think of all the tasty foods you can make the traditional way: pastries, fried goodies, tortillas and refried beans. We have a whole wheat, dairy free biscuit recipe using lard and are in the final recipe testing stages for a sinfully delicious sweet potato fries recipe.  Be adventurous – give it a try!


Recipe Report: Oatmeal Cookie Comparison

March 21, 2009

I made two different recipes of oatmeal cookies recently. The first recipe I used was from the pastry flour bag and was tasteless and lacking texture. The second batch was from Alton Brown’s cookbook: I’m Just Here for More Food: Food x Mixing + Heat = Baking. This is not just a cookbook, but a text for learning the how and why of baking. Chef Brown’s understanding of the importance of baking technique made a far superior cookie.

Both of these recipes had basically the same ingredients, but in different quantities and with different techniques.  The better of the two did not spread out all over the pan, but held a good shape and had a great texture.  I even tried adding an egg to the egg-less flour bag recipe, but it couldn’t rescue the taste, texture or shape. 

Now, of course I couldn’t follow the recipe in I’m Just Here for More Food directly.  Instead of white flour, I used whole wheat pastry flour and not being a fan of raisins, I added very finely chopped walnuts instead.  I also added a few chocolate chips to half the batch, but I have to admit, the chip-free cookies were just as good (and I’m a huge chocolate fan).  I baked them to crispy. 

I’ve made other recipes from this cookbook with great success.  If you had to buy one baking book, I’d suggest this one.  Even as a whole grain baker, I find the recipes easily adaptable.  In my opinion, I’d rather start out with a tasty recipe with a good technique and adapt it to be whole grain than fumble around with a second rate whole grain recipe. 

Note:  There are other oatmeal cookie recipes by Alton Brown printed on the web, but I haven’t seen this particular one.  I don’t think it’s kosher to reprint it here, so you’re just going to have to go check the book out for yourselves.  I highly recommend the library if your cookbook shelf is as stuffed as mine.