Red Coconut Curry

We love going out for Thai food. I usually order some kind of coconut curry; slightly spicy, sweet and delicious. I never thought I could recreate that taste at home. I've tried homemade Thai before and it wasn't even close at all. It turns out we just needed the secret ingredient: the right type of curry. Today Klane and I were grocery shopping, looking for Japanese curry, and found this red Thai curry paste.

The recipe on the side looked really easy, so we decided to give it a try and I am so glad we did! I don't want to over-hype this, but it was seriously amazing. This coconut curry honestly smelled and tasted exactly like the curries I've ordered at restaurants. We could not believe it! And it was so easy. Klane and I were so thrilled that we can now make some of our favorite restaurant food at home for a fraction of the cost.

Red Coconut Curry

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/4 medium onion, sliced
1 large carrot, sliced
1 potato (I used an Idaho), diced
1 can coconut milk (around 14 oz)
1-1 1/2 Tbs red curry paste
1-2 Tbs brown sugar
1-2 tsp salt
cooked hot rice

fresh basil or cilantro, for serving

In a large saucepan, whisk coconut milk and 1/2 Tbs curry paste (add more paste to desired taste, I used 1 1/2 Tbs). Simmer over medium heat for 5 mintues, stirring often. Add brown sugar and salt to taste. (I added 2 Tbs sugar, 1 1/2 tsp salt.) Add vegetables and 1/4 cup water. Simmer for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are cooked. (There's probably a better way to do this, but I microwaved the carrots and the potatoes first to make sure they were cooked enough before adding them to the curry. Put the sliced carrots and diced potatoes in separate cereal bowls, add a little water, and microwave them separately, each for about 1 1/2 minutes. Drain the water before dumping veggies into the curry sauce.)

In a large saucepan, saute chicken and onion in a little olive oil until chicken is no longer pink. Add chicken and onion to curry, stir together.

Serve with rice, garnish with fresh basil or cilantro if desired.

Makes 3-4 servings.


White Chicken Chili

A while back my sister Michelle posted a recipe for White Chicken Chili on her blog. I thought it looked so great, but I never got around to making it. This week I saw this recipe on a recipe blog and I had to try it. I should've taken Michelle's advice earlier! This was my first stab at white chili and it was SO good!! It was so incredibly easy and it seriously tastes amazing. We loved it! I will definitely be making this again. The spices in it were delicious and it was just spicy enough while deliciously creamy at the same time. Michelle's recipe added lime juice, and I think next time I will try that out!

White Chicken Chili

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 medium onion, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon oil
2 cans (15 1/2 ounces each) Great Northern Beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) chicken broth
2 cans (4 ounces each) chopped green chilies (if you like less kick, add just one can)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup whipping cream

fresh cilantro
shredded cheese
tortilla chips

In a large saucepan, saute chicken, onion and garlic powder in oil until chicken is no longer pink. Add beans, broth, chilies and seasonings. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Remove from the heat; stir in sour cream and cream. Garnish with fresh cilantro, if desired. Serve immediately. This is especially good served with tortilla chips and a little cheese sprinkled on top.

Makes about 6 servings.

Recipe from My Kitchen Cafe.


Butternut Squash Lasagna

Friend Allison raved about this lasagna on her blog, and it sounded so yummy, different and interesting I had to try it myself. I wasn't sure what to expect with the combination of all these flavors, but usually you can't go wrong with a recipe from Giada. We were definitely not disappointed. The mixture of the sweet squash, the basil, the creamy sauce and cheese, and the hint of nutmeg created an amazingly delicious combination. I've never tried any kind of vegetable lasagna, but I really liked this!

Also a little note: I do not own a blender, or a food processor. But this still worked for me. I pureed the squash with a hand mixer, and to make the basil sauce, I just chopped the basil very very finely and stirred it into the sauce. It worked well and the end result was still fantastic. This smelled amazing coming out of the oven.

Butternut Squash Lasagna

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 (1 1/2 to 2-pound) butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes
Salt and pepper
½ cup water
3 amaretti cookies, crumbled
¼ cup butter
¼ cup all-purpose flour
3 ½ cups whole milk
Pinch nutmeg
¾ cup (lightly packed) fresh basil leaves
12 no-boil lasagna noodles {i used regular, cooked according to package directions}
2 ½ cups shredded whole-milk mozzarella cheese
⅓ cup grated Parmesan

Heat the oil in a heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the squash and toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pour the water into the skillet and then cover and simmer over medium heat until the squash is tender, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Cool slightly and then transfer the squash to a food processor. Add the amaretti cookies and blend until smooth. {Maybe it was the hand mixer I was using, maybe it was that my squash lost more moisture in cooking, but mine was as thick as mashed potatoes. It should be thinner, about the consistency of baby food, so it will be spreadable later on. If it's too thick, add water a little at a time and continue blending to reach desired consistency. Watch Giada's video on the website if you'd like to see an example of the consistency of the puree.} Season the squash puree, to taste, with more salt and pepper.

While the squash is cooking, melt the butter in a heavy medium-size saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in the milk. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the sauce thickens slightly, whisking often, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the nutmeg. Cool slightly. Transfer half of the sauce to a blender*. Add the basil and blend until smooth. Return the basil sauce to the sauce in the pan and stir to blend. Season the sauce with salt and pepper, to taste.

Position the rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees F.

Lightly butter a 13 by 9 by 2-inch glass baking dish. Spread 3/4 cup of the sauce over the prepared baking dish. Arrange 3 lasagna noodles on the bottom of the pan. Spread 1/3 of the squash puree over the noodles. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese. Drizzle 1/2 cup of sauce over the noodles. Repeat layering 3 more times.

Tightly cover the baking dish with foil and bake the lasagna for 40 minutes. Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses over the lasagna. Continue baking uncovered until the sauce bubbles and the top is golden, 15 minutes longer. Let the lasagna stand for 15 minutes before serving.

*When blending hot liquids: Remove liquid from the heat and allow to cool for at least 5 minutes. Transfer liquid to a blender or food processor and fill it no more than halfway. If using a blender, release one corner of the lid. This prevents the vacuum effect that creates heat explosions. Place a towel over the top of the machine, pulse a few times then process on high speed until smooth.

Recipe from Giada de Laurentiis.


Honey Lime Chicken Enchiladas

Friend Sarah raved about these on her blog so much that I had to try them. She said they're the best enchiladas she's ever had and that she made them three times in two weeks! I also thought these were very yummy. The combination of honey and lime was so delicious and a fun spin on my regular enchilada routine. These were so delicious! I would definitely make these again!

Honey Lime Enchiladas

1.5 lbs. chicken or pork, cooked and shredded
⅓ cup honey
¼ cup lime juice (about 2 limes)
1 Tbsp. chili powder
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1 4 oz. can diced green chiles
2 10 oz. cans green enchilada sauce
Equal parts mozzarella & cheddar cheese, grated (monterey jack works fine)
8-10 flour tortillas

After chicken/pork is cooked and shredded, combine with green chiles, honey, lime juice, chili & garlic powder. Let "marinate" in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Grease a 9x13 pan and pour a little bit of the enchilada sauce to coat the bottom of the pan. Fill your tortillas with chicken mixture and a little cheese. Roll up and place seam side down in the pan. Repeat. Pour remaining enchilada sauce over the top and sprinkle more cheese on top (don't be stingy). Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 30 minutes and then turn on the broiler for a couple minutes so it gets nice and brown. Serve with sour cream, diced tomatoes, shredded lettuce and salsa, if desired.

Recipe from my wonderful former visiting teaching companion, Sarah Nowland. She's a great visiting teacher and a great cook too!

Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies

I've been craving chocolate chocolate chip cookies lately. New Years Resolutions? Ha! Anyway, these are amazing. I substituted half the chocolate chips for butterscotch chips, but do as you will. With all that chocolate, they will be delish either way.

Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
16 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped {I used a cup of chocolate chips and it was great!}
4 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
10 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened but still cool
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk together; set aside.

Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over simmering water until completely melted and smooth; remove from the heat. (Alternatively, microwave the chocolate in 30 second intervals, mixing thoroughly in between, until melted and smooth.) In a small mixing bowl, combine the eggs and vanilla; stir well with a fork to dissolve; set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter at medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 5 seconds. Mix in the sugars until well combined, about 45 seconds – the mixture will look granular. Reduce the mixer speed to low and gradually beat in the egg mixture until incorporated, about 45 seconds. Add the chocolate to the bowl in a steady stream and continue beating until combined, about 40 seconds. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. With the mixer at low speed, add the dry ingredients and mix just until incorporated, being careful not to overbeat. Fold in the chocolate chips with a rubber spatula. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature until the consistency is scoopable and fudge-like, about 30 minutes. {I, Angie, did not let them sit for 30 minutes, and they turned out just fine.}

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350° F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Scoop the dough onto the prepared baking sheets with a 1 ¾-inch cookie dough scoop, spacing the dough balls about 1 ½ inches apart.

Bake until the edges of the cookies have just began to set but the centers are still very soft, about 10 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through baking. Cool the cookies on the sheets about 10 minutes, transfer to cooling racks and allow to cool completely. Cool the baking sheets before baking more batches with the remaining dough.

Recipe from Annie's Eats.

Ham and Pasta Skillet Dinner

Easy, quick, yummy weeknight dinner. I liked that it came together without too much hassle, and still tasted pretty good. I cheated and used bottled, powdered parmesan instead of the grated stuff, and parsley flakes instead of the fresh stuff. It was fine but if I made this again I would definitely go with real parmesan and fresh parsley.

Ham and Pasta Skillet Dinner

1 lb. small tube or shell pasta
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
3 cups fully cooked ham, diced
1 large sweet red pepper, diced
½ medium onion, chopped
¼ cup minced fresh parsley
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon dried oregano
1 ½ cups chicken broth (I used some leftover chicken stock)
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
¾ cup shredded Parmesan cheese

If you're planning on baking it, cook macaroni until very firm. Macaroni should be too firm to eat right out of the pot. (If you're serving it right out of the pot, cook it fully.) Drain.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, beat egg. In a large pot, melt butter and sprinkle in flour. Whisk together over medium-low heat. Cook mixture for five minutes, whisking constantly. Don’t let it burn. Pour in milk, add mustard, and whisk until smooth. Cook for five minutes until very thick. Reduce heat to low. Take 1/4 cup of the sauce and slowly pour it into beaten egg, whisking constantly to avoid cooking eggs. Whisk together till smooth. Pour egg mixture into sauce, whisking constantly. Stir until smooth. Add in cheese and stir to melt. Add salts and pepper. Taste sauce and add more salt and seasoned salt as needed! DO NOT UNDERSALT.

Pour in drained, cooked macaroni and stir to combine. Serve immediately (very creamy) or pour into a buttered baking dish, top with extra cheese, and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until bubbly and golden on top.

Recipe from My Kitchen Cafe. And her picture is prettier than mine. I attribute this in part to the peas in the background. I should've added some sort of contrasting side-dish! Blast!

Potato and Corn Chowder

This chowder was exactly what I was hoping for on a cold winter evening. Filling, creamy, delicious and hearty. The bacon adds great flavor, as bacon usually does. ;) This recipe makes a lot, and since we don't have a large pot, we halved it. If you make a whole batch you'll have leftovers for days! Or you could have yourself a party.

Potato and Corn Chowder

¾ cups butter
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
¾ cups flour
1 ½ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
3 potatoes, cooked, peeled and cubed
1 lb. bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 pkg frozen corn, thawed
4 ½ cups milk
1 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon parsley flakes
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
½ cup sour cream

In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; sweat until onion is clear. Whisk in flour, salt and pepper. Stir until smooth. Gradually add milk and broth while stirring. Add in potatoes, bacon, corn and parsley flakes. Continue to heat over medium heat, stirring frequently until chowder has thickened, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat. Whisk in grated cheese and sour cream, stir until cheese has melted.

Serves 12 - ish.

I don't remember where I got this one.

Gingerbread Cake with Hot Caramel Sauce

This cake is the perfect holiday dessert. It is one of my favorite desserts, hands down. The gingerbread cake is so moist, and paired with the spiced caramel sauce, it is just heavenly. Although this is technically a holiday dessert, I crave it and would make it any time of the year! You may want to double the sauce so you can have as much as you want, and use the leftovers for ice-cream topping or some other yummy caramel treat.

Gingerbread Cake

1 cup dark molasses
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
½ cup sugar
½ cup butter, melted
2 cups flour
1 cup boiling water
2 eggs, separated
whipped cream, to garnish if desired

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, mix molasses, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Add sugar, butter, flour and boiling water. Stir in beaten egg yolks. Beat egg whites until stiff and fold into batter. Pour into a greased Bundt pan (OR 9 x 13” pan). Bake for about 40 minutes (or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean). Cool. Turn gingerbread out onto a platter or cake stand (if you baked it in a Bundt pan; not necessary if baked in a 9 x 13” pan). Serve with hot caramel sauce and whipped cream on top.

Hot Caramel Sauce

1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter
2 heaping Tbs. flour
1 tsp. vanilla
¼ tsp. nutmeg
1 cup of boiling water
Dash of salt

Melt butter in a medium saucepan; add brown sugar and sugar and stir until sugars are dissolved. Add flour, stirring constantly over medium heat. Add vanilla, salt and nutmeg. Add boiling water. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring until sauce thickens. Serve over gingerbread or pool beneath.

Recipe from Kaylene Harding.