Spicy Chicken and Mustard Greens Noodle Soup

Spicy Chicken and Mustard Greens Noodle SoupI made this soup for lunch today using mustard greens from my CSA box. In the US, one might think of greens as a Southern thing, but mustard greens actually originated in Asia and are commonly found in cuisines around the world. For this soup, I had the flavors of Southeast Asia in mind. The spices compliment the bite of the mustard greens.

Spicy Chicken and Mustard Greens Noodle Soup

8 ounces flat rice noodles (I use pho bahn)
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced
1 tablespoon vegetable oil (use your favorite, I use canola)
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
3 cloves garlic
1 bunch mustard greens, washed well and chopped (about 4 – 5 cups)
8 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 – 2 tablespoons fish sauce, to taste

Soak the rice noodles in hot water for 15 minutes until they become pliable. Drain and set aside.

Using a mortar and pestle (or grind in a small food processor) pound the garlic, black peppercorns, red chile flakes, and cumin seeds together.

Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the sliced chicken and cook until no longer pink. Add the garlic-spice mixture to the pan and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the mustard greens, chicken broth, and soy sauce to the pot and cook until the greens are tender, about 10 minutes. Just before serving, add the rice noodles and fish sauce (to taste) and cook for about 2 minutes more or until the rice noodles are tender.

Balsamic Glazed Salmon

Balsamic Glazed Salmon

This is a super quick and flavorful main dish for two. Each serving comes in at around 202 calories. Served with rice and a green veggie (like broccoli or asparagus), you have a healthy, low-calorie meal.

Balsamic Glazed Salmon

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 clove garlic, finely minced
8 ounces wild salmon filets
salt and pepper, to taste

In a large skillet, combine the balsamic vinegar, water, maple syrup, and garlic over medium-high heat. Season the salmon filets with salt and pepper and place in the balsamic sauce in the skillet. Bring the liquid just to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, turning once, until the salmon is done, about 10 minutes. The balsamic vinegar sauce will have reduced quite a bit and thickened. You may have to add a tablespoon (or more) of water if the sauce is thickening too quickly


Eggplant Stroganoff

Eggplant Stroganoff

I’ve been getting some beautiful eggplants in my Pinckney’s Produce CSA box so far this season. I’m always looking for new ways to prepare eggplant. Each week CSA members get an email early in the week with the contents of the week’s box, news from the farm, and a recipe to use some of the produce. This recipe for Eggplant Stroganoff was featured in last week’s email. It was mentioned that the recipe given produces a runny sauce. I thought I could avoid that problem by preparing the sauce separately from the veggies and reducing the amount of liquid. I think my adaptation of Eggplant Stroganoff turned out well.

My husband had reservations about trying the Eggplant Stroganoff. He’s not a big fan of eggplant, but he admitted that he liked it and then had seconds. I wasn’t a 100% certain I would like it, but it was actually super-delicious. I finished off the leftovers for lunch today and am already thinking about making it again soon. And why not? This Eggplant Stroganoff has almost half of the calories of my Beef Stroganoff and is totally satisfying. You will not miss the meat in this dish.

Eggplant Stroganoff

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, peeled, halved, and thinly sliced
1 Italian eggplant (or two small), cut into 1-inch cubes (no need to peel the eggplant)
8 ounces mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard powder
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth (I used 1 1/2 cups water and 2 Knorr vegetable bouillon cubes)
1/2 cup sour cream (you can use low-fat)
salt and pepper, to taste

cooked egg noodles, warmed

Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Whisk in the flour and dry mustard and cook for a minute. Gradually add the vegetable broth, whisking constantly until thick, about 2 minutes. Stir in the sour cream. Season with salt and pepper and keep warm on low heat.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the onions and cook until they start to soften. Add the eggplant and mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the eggplant is tender, about 5 minutes. Pour reserved sauce over the eggplant mixture and stir gently to combine. Reduce heat and simmer a  few minutes more. Serve over warm egg noodles.




Crockpot Butter Chicken and Potatoes

Crockpot Butter Chicken and Potatoes (640x480)

The past two months have been crazy-busy. Both of my sons are now in school. Their schools are in opposite parts of the city. I’m spending 4 to 6 hours a day in the car shuttling them around to school and appointments. Throw in there an emergency surgery for my cat, a dead air conditioner that required a complete system replacement, a ruptured eardrum, a variety of back-to-school colds, car problems, soccer practice and games, art workshops, and PTO meetings (I volunteered to be the Secretary for my oldest son’s school’s PTSO). Life has been hectic!

In hectic times, the crockpot comes in so handy. Butter Chicken is a popular Indian dish not usually done in a crockpot. The crockpot is a perfect cooking implement for this dish because the chicken turns out so tender. The addition of potatoes is not necessarily traditional, but it is delicious and gives more substance to the dish. This recipe makes enough for leftovers, which taste even better since the spices have had time to meld.

This recipe uses a lot of spices. I mix my own garam masala and curry powder. I have included the recipes for my spice mixes. You can buy already prepared Indian spice mixtures at some grocery stores or online at http://www.penzeys.com.

Butter Chicken and Potatoes (640x480)


Crockpot Butter Chicken and Potatoes

1 small onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 3 breasts), cut into bite-sized chunks
3 large potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-sized chunks
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
1 tablespoon Thai red curry paste (I used Thai Kitchen brand)
1 tablespoon curry powder (see recipe below)
1 tablespoon garam masala (see recipe below)
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 6 ounce can tomato paste
1 13.5 ounce can coconut milk
1/2 cup heavy cream (or half and half)
4 tablespoons butter
fresh cilantro, chopped

Cooked Basmati rice

Layer the onions, chicken, and potatoes in the crockpot. In a bowl, whisk together the garlic, ginger, Thai curry paste, spices, tomato paste, coconut milk, and cream. Pour the sauce over the chicken and potatoes. Add the butter to the crockpot. Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or on high for 3 to 4 hours. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve with Basmati rice. Naan bread would be wonderful with this too.

Recipe adapted from the one found here.

Curry Powder

2 T. ground coriander
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. ground turmeric
1 tsp. ground cayenne
1 tsp. ground ginger

Mix spices together and store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

Garam Masala

2 tsp. ground cumin
4 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. ground cardamom
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

Combine spices. Store in glass jar.