Spring break makes me want to dance and sing and play games…and cook! Yes, I still cook for my family every night, but with busy schedules, sometimes those meals are just thrown together. I do not always necessarily enjoy or appreciate the art of cooking.
We are on spring break this week, though, and we convinced Sean to take off work so that he could join in on our family fun.
We have had games days,
a plant the garden day,
and a zoo day (more on that later) so far.
It has been my definition of family bliss. Sometimes staycations are the best.
Another thing that happens during spring break is my desire to start eating more fruits and vegetables, while cooking more healthy meals for the family. This week, I am on a mission to make granola (recipe later), chop and freeze fruit for smoothies, chop and freeze vegetables for stir-fry, make granola bars, and prepare peanut butter and chocolate covered pretzels for the littles.
As I looked into my refrigerator on Monday, I decided to make a stir-fry, but I was not sure exactly what kind I wanted to make. I remembered how Gabriel likes Brenda’s Coconut Curry Soup so much that he requested it for his birthday, and I decided that I could turn it into stir-fry form. It was so delicious that I looked at the leftovers after dinner and told Sean that it made me want to blog about it. As we all know, I am not a food stylist, but I did my best to put together a pretty plate of it so that I capture the memories…and remember how to make it the next time my family requests it.
2-3 chicken breasts, cubed
1 portobello mushroom, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 small sweet onion, diced
1/3 cup chopped carrots
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 can coconut milk
1 tablespoon red curry paste
1-2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon powdered ginger
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
12 ounces linguini, cooked according to package directions
- Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to stir-fry pan.
- Heat pan over medium high heat.
- Add chicken breasts and cook for 4-5 minutes, until barely pink.
- Toss in portobello mushroom, onion, bell pepper, and carrots.
- Reduce heat to medium.
- Season with salt, and continue cooking for another 4-5 minutes. Vegetables will still be slightly crisp, and the chicken will be juicy but cooked through.
- Mix together the coconut milk, fish sauce, soy sauce, ginger, red curry paste, and corn starch. Pour the mixture into the stir-fry pan. Stir until the sauce thickens, which should only take 1-2 minutes.
- Remove from heat.
- Serve immediately over the linguine noodles.
Enjoy your weekend!
Yesterday I learned a hard lesson. I baked some cupcakes for someone, and I had never tried the recipe before. I actually baked them on Tuesday to be delivered on Wednesday. When they came out of the oven, I knew that they looked different. But, honestly, I did not feel well and did not want to start over. I had tried the batter, and it tasted great.
Well, fast forward to yesterday. The cupcakes were not great. They were not even good. And, everyone knew it. My husband had to deliver the bad news to me.
Baking can be very unpredictable. I should have tried out the recipe before I ever made them for someone. We have just been so crunched for time between appointments, events, traveling, and getting ready for Christmas. However, even though cupcakes do not always turn out the same every single time, I would have known that this particular cupcake recipe was not going to work if I had just tried it first.
Sometimes, though, trying new things turns out wonderfully the first time around. Such was the case with Martha Stewart’s Shredded Brussels Sprouts that my sister made for Thanksgiving. It was fantastic. Out of all of the things at the feast, it was the Green Bean Casserole and the Brussels Sprouts that had me wanting seconds. I know that people either love or hate Brussels Sprouts. But, even if you have never been a fan, I honestly think that this recipe might change your mind. It is truly delicious.
Shredded Brussels Sprouts
1/2 pound thinly sliced pancetta, diced small
Extra-virgin olive oil, if needed
1 3/4 pounds brussels sprouts, trimmed and shredded (10 cups)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
Coarse salt and ground pepper
- In a large nonstick skillet, cook pancetta over medium, stirring occasionally, until crisp, 8 to 10 minutes.
- With a slotted spoon, transfer pancetta to paper towels to drain.
- Pour off all but 1/4 cup drippings (if necessary, add enough oil to measure 1/4 cup).
- Add Brussels sprouts and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp-tender, 10 minutes.
- Stir in rosemary and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
- Stir in pancetta.
- Remove from heat, stir in lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper.
- Serve warm or at room temperature.
And…if you ever make a huge baking blunder, I hope that you have a husband as sweet as mine. He knew that I needed a little pick-me-up yesterday. Because, for some reason, it is in human nature to beat ourselves up for the bad days instead of lifting ourselves up about the good days. However, ending the day with my favorite flowers put a smile on my face and allowed me to reflect on the good that I had learned, in spite of the bad experience. Trying new things is good…just make sure that it is with family first. 🙂
I know that I have mentioned my sister several times. She is not just a sister. She is one of my best friends, my neighbor, our school nurse, and a wonderful aunt to my littles. She is great at everything that she attempts. And, yes, that includes cooking.
I actually called her the other day to see if she wanted to just hang up her nursing shoes and open up a cafe with me. But, then I thought of my littles and how sad they would be if she was not at the school every day, and I said, “Never mind.” Sometimes it is hard to be selfless. 🙂
We had Thanksgiving with my sister this year. She and Todd always put together an amazing feast. When we tried Paula Deen’s Green Bean Casserole that Darla had prepared, we declared that it was the best that we had ever had. Seriously. I know that there are a ton of green bean casserole recipes out there. This one, in my opinion, surpasses them all. Simply delicious. I had to get a picture of it right then and there because I told my sister that this recipe was too good not to share.
As a matter-a-fact, I kind of see my sister the exact same way. Share her I must….because, she truly is so good that it would be a shame not to share her joy, talents, and natural abilities with others, especially when those others come in the form of sweet children, like my own precious littles.
Green Been Casserole
1/3 stick butter
1/2 cup diced onions
1/2 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
2 cups sliced green beans
3 cups chicken broth
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can cream of mushroom soup
1 (2.8-ounce) can French-fried onion rings
Pinch House Seasoning
1 cup grated Cheddar
1 cup salt
1/4 cup black pepper
1/4 cup garlic powder
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Melt the butter in a large skillet.
- Saute the onions and mushrooms in the butter.
- Boil green beans in chicken broth for 10 minutes and drain.
- Add the green beans, mushroom soup, onion rings, and House Seasoning, to taste, to the onion mixture, and stir well.
- Pour into a greased 1 1/2-quart baking dish.
- Bake for 20 minutes.
- top the casserole with the Cheddar and bake for 10 minutes longer, or until the casserole is hot and cheese is melted.
- Mix together salt, black pepper, and garlic powder.
- Store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.