Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Happy Meal

Ben right now is in this cooking group at work, and he always comes home with these really interesting recipes from all over the world. This is one is from a colleague of his whose mom would make it back home and they called it "the happy meal" because it was so good. I was impressed with it because of the strange combination of savory and sweet, I would have never thought to mix bananas and bacon but it turned out quite delicious.

Serves 4

1 onion
14 oz turkey, cut into chunks (400 g)
3.5 ounces bacon (100 g)
1 cup of cream (250 ml)
1 Tbsp curry
1 beef bullion cube
1 banana
1 cup mandarin oranges
1 1/2 cup pineapple

Chop bacon and onion into small pieces and saute with strips of turkey in a large frying pan. Once they are cooked, add cream, beef bullion cube, curry and salt if needed. Last, drop in banana, pineapple and Mandarin oranges. Let them all simmer together for several minutes, and serve immediately with rice. Don't let the fruit simmer for too long, or the fruity flavors will overpower the meal (known from experience!).

Monday, April 18, 2011

Simple Greek Salad

This is one of my favorites, such great flavors all mingled together and it is so easy. It's perfect for summer.

Serves 4

5-6 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 cup olives
1 cucumber, chopped into small pieces
1 small red onion, sliced thinly
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1-2 tsp lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
2 tsp basil

In a bowl, mix together tomatoes, olives, cucumber and onion. Mix well. Then toss in Feta, lemon juice, salt, pepper and basil. It's best if you make it a few hours before dinner so you have time for the flavors to mingle. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Nutella No-Bake Cookies

I love no-bake cookies. They are SO easy to make and use such basic ingredients that I never have to buy anything special to have them made. Plus when you have a sugar craving, they really hit the spot. The problem is, to make them one needs peanut butter and the only place I have found American peanut butter here is clear across town. So in desperation yesterday I used Nutella instead (which is found virtually everywhere here) and it was wonderful! Ben even loved them and he usually hates no-bake cookies.

makes about 2 dozen cookies

2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 pinch salt
1/2 cup Nutella
3 1/2 cups oats

Combine sugar, cocoa, butter and milk in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a rolling boil, stirring occasionally, for about 2 minutes. During this time measure out your oats and Nutella, then when the time is up, quickly mix them in to the hot mixture. Drop spoonfuls onto wax paper and let cool completely so they can harden before eating.

If your cookies turn out gooey and sticky, they didn't boil long enough. If they are crumbly, they boiled for too long. 2 minutes turned out perfectly for my stove, but experiment with your own stove to get the timing right.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Sweet and Sour Baked Chicken

adapted slightly from Heat Oven to 350

It's so easy to get in a cooking rut. I looked at our menu last week and realized we had been eating meatballs and sandwiches for almost every meal and so I decided to try something new. This was a great meal; a healthy and delicious twist on the asian classic. I loved the tangy sauce and it was even better the next day! Feel free to experiment with different vegetables.

Serves 4-6

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
8 1/2 ounce pineapple chunks in their own juice
1/2 cup jellied cranberry sauce (I used lingonberry jam)
2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp rice vinegar or cider vinegar
2 Tbsp frozen orange juice concentrate (I used regular orange juice + 1/2 tsp orange concentrate)
1 tsp soy sauce
1/4 tsp ground ginger
2 Tbsp cornstarch
2 Tbsp water
1 medium green bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1 medium zucchini, cut into thin slices

Heat the oven to 350 degrees (176 C). Pat chicken pieces dry with a paper towel, place them in a medium sized baking pan and set aside.

Drain juice from pinapple into a small saucepan and set pineapple asie. Put pan over medium heat and whisk in cranberry sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, orange juice concentrate soy sauce and ginger. Cook, stirring often until the cranberry sauce has melted and the sauce is warm. Put cornstarch in a cup or small bowl. Add water, whisking to dissolve. Whisk into juice mixture. Increase heat to medium-high and cook for about 3 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally. Add pineapple chunks and pour over chicken.

Bake, covered for 35 minutes. Add bell pepper and zucchini and baste the chicken with sauce. Bake uncovered for an additional 5 minutes. Serve over rice.