easy weeknight curry

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I love curry. I love Thai curry, Indian curry and everything in between. Whenever we get Thai food (usually take-out from a few blocks away) I always get red curry vegetables and “add extra broccoli and cauliflower please!” Sometimes they listen to my request and sometimes….well, not so much :)

Curry has been an easy weeknight  stand-by dinner that doesn’t require any fresh ingredients and is a flash to put together. I have to be honest though, it doesn’t taste as good as the take-out…anyone have any ideas for me?

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Whisk together 1 can coconut milk (I use Lite) and 2 Tbsp red curry paste in a large pan. Add a splash of fish sauce and salt & pepper.

Throw in frozen veggies and shrimp if desired, I usually use a bag of broccoli, cauliflower and carrots and then another 1/2 bag of broccoli. This last time I used raw, peeled shrimp which I actually liked because I think that cooking it in the liquid added some flavor to the shrimp instead of just adding cooked shrimp at the last minute. Simmer until shrimp are thoroughly cooked and serve over brown rice.

And because that wasn’t enough curry the taster found some curried sweet potatoes at Whole Foods so we baked those and had them on the side. They were ok, but nothing too special.

Do you have a weeknight stand-by dinner?

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skinny crisps

Myrna’s skinny crisps come in a variety of flavors but which do I go for?

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Chocolate obviously!

I was drawn to these crackers because I seem to have a very keen eye at the Co-op for new products and the packaging was pretty cute. And I always notice packaging – can’t help it, it is part of my job!  I probably shouldn’t admit this but that is how I pick out some things…like wine…but I swear I only do that once in a while ;)  The story on the back of the package is also pretty cute but the reason these made it into my basket? The ingredients.

Ingredients: almonds, chickpea flour, golden flax seeds, psylium husk, cocoa powder, sea salt and turbinado. Interesting, right? Doesn’t sound to much like brownies to me…but I’m always one to try!

3 crackers: 80 calories, 4.5 g fat, 2 g fiber, 2 g protein.

I of course sampled one the minute I got in the car and loved. These aren’t too sweet but they still have a great chocolate flavor are nice and crunchy.  They remind me of something but I just can’t put my finger on it…guess I’ll have to keep trying to figure it out!  They would also be beyond delicious made into an ice-cream sandwich with some coconut ice cream….. What! Did I just say that?!?!

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Did I mention that they are also amazing with a little almond butter on top? In fact that is how I consumed about 1/2 the package a few of the crackers. ;)

mac & cheese

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Macaroni & Cheese was obviously a childhood favorite of mine. (Is there anyone who didn’t love the mac??) But growing up we didn’t have Kraft, we usually had Annie’s mac & cheese – Shells & White Cheddar. Kudos to you Mom! :)  I rarely make the cheesy goodness anymore, but once in a while I will pick up some Annie’s for old times sake.

What to do with a drawer-full of cheese and two new baking ramekins?? (ok, I lie, I actually bought the ramekins so that I could make the mac & cheese) The old favorite was calling my name and I wanted to make it from scratch. It went pretty well but the possibilities are endless with this and I can’t wait to try some exciting, more flavorful cheeses and toppings like carmelized shallots, crab meat, crispy sage, …..hmmmmmm.

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I totally didn’t know if this was going to turn out or not and my only complaint is that it wasn’t as flavorful as I would have liked. Now I know and next time I will use some sharper cheeses. Problem solved. Other than that it was perfectly creamy without powdered cheese!

Recipe:

Cook pasta until al dente. Do not overcook. Save some of the cooking liquid, I left about 1/2 cup in the pan. (I used about 1 cup of brown rice pasta)

I made a quick roux with about 2 T of butter melted in a hot pan and added a spoonful (about 1 T) of flour. Mix together over heat until smooth. Pour in 1/8 cup 1/2 & 1/2 and 1/3 cup skim milk, dash of hot sauce and salt & pepper. Stir in 1/4 cup shredded italian cheese blend and 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella.

Pour cheese mixture into pasta and reserved cooking liquid and when all pasta is covered pour into ramekins. I sprinkled some whole grain panko bread crumbs and some fresh parmesan cheese to form a crust when broiled. Broil until top is toasty . I happened to have some chives on-hand and I loved what they added to the dish.

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You can bet I will be making some more versions of mac & cheese in the near future. I have noticed that I’m starting to crave more pasta, soups and warm food this fall. I love pasta but can go weeks without it in the summer but once the chill in the air starts? I’m all over it as seen here and here.

sweet potato, spinach & chorizo soup

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I came across this recipe from Bon Appetit (October 2007) on Smitten Kitchen. It of course looked amazing and with the frigid temps that have recently blessed Minnesota (Hello 30 degrees and snow!) I knew a soup was in my near future.

I decided to make mine in the crock-pot, because I can think of nothing better than preparing dinner at noon, attempting to make foccacia (again and again to no avail) and enjoying wine all afternoon a glass of wine all to sit down to a hot, fragrant dinner.

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Like SK, I opted for chorizo because I looooove the spicy and it was the most “natural” kind of sausage I could find in a conventional grocery store. It was awful and I will never attempt to find decent meat there again.

Slice and brown 4 links of chorizo and set aside in crock-pot. Saute 2 small onions and 3 cloves of garlic, all minced and add to the crock. Add 3 sweet potatoes (peeled and chopped into 3/4 inch pieces) and 6 cups broth (I used Organic Chicken). Throw in some random spices and set crock-pot to low for 4 hours. Sit back, relax, slightly mash some of the sweet potatoes and stir in some spinach when you are ready to eat.

Note: I did not use white potatoes because I’m not a huge fan of them , but they are in the original recipe.

Need to find some more good crock-pot recipes. Anyone have some good ones?

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