Several weeks ago I published an article about how we eat greens, and I mentioned a curry recipe that we like. I don't like fish, but it's good in this dish. We could get a smoked fish (they called it "smoked salmon" but it wasn't actually salmon. It was really good, though.) Of course, you could make it with chicken, or even with pork or beef too. Use whatever you have available! :-)

I have a hard time sharing recipes like this, because most of the time when I'm cooking I just add a bit of this and a bit of that until it looks good. I use recipes for baked goods, but not for main dishes! So the amounts I'm giving here are "guess-timates" and you'll have to taste as you go and make it the way you like it. :-)

Fish Curry

1 onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, crushed or grated

fresh ginger, about 1", grated

3 Tbsp curry powder

2 Tbsp vinegar

1/4 c. tomato paste

Salt to taste

1 c. water or chicken broth

1 c. smoked fish or other meat (use more if you can)

1 c. chopped, cooked greens similar to spinach (or about 4 c. fresh chopped greens)

2/3 c. yogurt, milk, or coconut milk (more if needed)

Fry onion in a few tablespoons of oil until soft. Add garlic and ginger and fry a few minutes longer. Meanwhile, combine curry powder and vinegar to make a paste. Add to onion mixture and fry a few more minutes, stirring constantly to keep from burning (it's great if you have a non-stick skillet for this!). Add tomato paste, mix well. Add water and meat (and fresh greens, if that's what you're using). Simmer for 15-30 minutes to blend flavors (or long enough to cook meat, if using raw meat.) Add greens and yogurt/milk and leave over heat just until warm through. Serve over rice - or millet - or even with potatoes.

 

Do you have a favorite curry recipe?

Today's recipe is a simple one, but oh! so yummy!  Actually, it is one that has morphed quite a bit in my family . . . the original recipe called for rice, not for noodles! So if you don't have pasta handy, try rice instead - whatever you choose, make sure it's cooked and cooled first.  A great way to use up leftovers!

I think this is similar to a spaghetti frittata, but since I made the recipe up, I'm not sure. :-)

 

Noodle-Spinach Bake

1 cup cooked, chopped spinach or similar greens (can use frozen or fresh, but cook it first)

2 c. cooked spaghetti noodles, cooled

1/2 c. shredded, cooked chicken (tuna would also be good)

1 c. shredded cheese (optional)

3 eggs, beaten

1/3 c. milk

1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp onion powder (you could add a diced, sauted onion instead)

1/2 tsp rosemary

 

Combine all ingredients in baking dish. If using cheese, save half of it to sprinkle on top of casserole. Bake at 375 for 30-40 minutes. Serve hot!

 

Do you have these seasonings - Worcestershire sauce and rosemary - available where you live? We could get Worcestershire sauce locally, but rosemary was one of the spices we brought with us from the States. We love it in this dish, and also sprinkled on baked chicken!

I love Chinese food. Or at least, my American rendition of Chinese food. :-) This recipe is NOT for those of you living in Asia - I don't mind if you laugh at the severely non-authentic dish I'm about to share! But it's a family favorite at my house, and even yummy enough to serve to company if you're living in Africa.

 

Sweet & Sour Chicken

1 onion, chopped

1 green pepper, chopped (or any color sweet pepper)

1 clove garlic, minced

1" ginger, grated

1/2 pineapple (or a whole small one)

1 c green beans or other veggie (optional)

1-2 c. cooked chicken, chopped (pork is good also)

1/4 c. soy sauce

1/2 t.salt

1/2 c. vinegar

1/3 c. brown sugar (white is fine too)

1 c. chicken broth or water w/chicken bullion (if using bullion, reduce salt)

3 T. cornstarch

 

Fry onion and green pepper in a small amount of oil until soft. Add garlic & ginger for the last few minutes, but be careful because they burn quickly. Add remaining ingredients EXCEPT cornstarch. Cook 20-30 minutes, or until pineapple and green beans are tender. Add more water if needed while cooking. Just before serving, mix cornstarch with a small amount of water (1/4 c.) and slowly add, stirring vigorously to avoid lumps. Serve over steamed rice.

This recipe can also be used to cook chicken legs or breast pieces, if you want to serve more meat with your meal (nicer for company meals.) Follow the same instructions, except add raw chicken pieces instead of chopped meat, and use water without bullion. Be sure to cook at least 30 minutes, or until chicken is done.

Maybe you can get cheese where you live. If you can, be thankful.

If you can't, this article is for you. How do you enjoy the comfort of pizza without mozzerella cheese? Here's some ideas.

1) BBQ pizza - Homemade barbecue sauce, chicken or pork, peppers, and onions combine to make a great pizza that is good without cheese. Of course, if you do have some cheese that's even better. :-)

2) Chicken alfredo pizza - Parmesan cheese is easy to send over from the States because it doesn't have to be refridgerated. If you have parmesan, you can make a lovely alfredo sauce. (Most alfredo sauce recipes call for cream. Since we used milk powder, I just mixed it extra-rich and called it cream.) Add carmelized onions, spinach, and chicken to make a pizza your hubby will ask for again!

3) Cheeseburger pizza - if you have Velveeta cheese, cheese powder, or some other form of non-grateable cheese (is that a word?) you can make a thick white sauce and melt the cheese into it. Drizzle it over a pizza crust with marinara sauce, hamburger and onions.

4) Breadsticks with lots of garlic butter and marinara sauce for dipping are great. You'll feel like you had pizza and never miss the cheese!

5) Mexican Pizza - spread refried beans on the crust, sprinkle with taco meat, onions & peppers. If you have cheese (any kind) you can also add it at this point, but it's good without cheese. After baking, add fresh lettuce and salsa. I also like to drizzle with a little ranch dressing or plain yogurt seasoned with garlic & onion powder. So yummy!

 

As I am typing these ideas, I'm counting the number of recipes I could share: pizza crust, breadsticks, bbq sauce, alfredo sauce, white sauce, marinara sauce, refried beans. I can't share all of them in one post! Since pizza crust is the common denominator, I'm going to share that one. :-) Please let me know in the comments what other recipes you'd like to see!

 

Fast and Easy Pizza Crust

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 tablespoon honey or sugar
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2-3 cups flour
  1. In a large bowl or in the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, mix the water, honey, oil, yeast and salt. Add the flour gradually until a soft dough forms and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. The exact amount of flour will vary so go by the feel of the dough. The dough should be soft and smooth (not leaving a residue on your fingers but not really stiff, either).
  2. Knead the dough for 2-3 minutes (more like 5-6 minutes if kneading by hand).
  3. Let the dough rest, covered, for 10 minutes. Shape the dough into one large or two medium pizzas, spread with sauce and toppings, and bake at 475 or 500 degrees on a lightly greased baking sheet for 8-10 minutes.

 

One more very random fact - I chose pizza as my theme for this week's post in honor of a childhood friend. Her family's Thanksgiving celebration didn't include turkey or potatoes or cranberry sauce . . . their family tradition was homemade pizza. So if you're wondering what to do this year for Thanksgiving with no turkey, you might give it a try! :-)

Cooking is a really big part of our lives, isn't it, ladies? Unless you have house-help that can do some of the cooking for you (which I recommend, by the way!) you spend a lot of time in the kitchen. And even for those who love to cook, learning to use new ingredients and cook new foods can be a stressful challenge! If you could just play around, it would be fun, but when the well-being of your family depends on it three times a day, it gets tiring, right?

Anyway, I want to start posting one recipe each week from the collection I used regularly when we lived overseas. Not all of them will be reproducible in all parts of the world, but hopefully they will be helpful to some! Today I'll share one of our lunch-time favorites, and my go-to recipe when I had short-notice, unexpected company over mealtime. (Or NOT over mealtime, as the case may be - more than once we had guests arrive at 9pm that hadn't eaten all day!) I call it "fried noodles" because it's essentially the same dish as fried rice, except you use Indomie (Top Ramen) Instant Noodles instead of rice. Here's the process . . .

I start by putting a tea pot of water on to boil, for the noodles. Then I chop a few of whatever veggies I have on hand - usually half an onion, some cabbage, maybe some green pepper or carrots. Throw these into a large (preferably deep) skillet with a generous amount of oil and fry until soft. (I like the onions to be browned, they have a sweeter flavor that way.) As soon as the water is boiling, I open 3-4 packs of noodles (estimate almost one pack per person) and put them in a bowl, then pour boiling water over them. Cover with a plate (or a lid, if you happen to have such luxuries!) and let sit while the veggies are cooking. Soaking rather than cooking keeps the noodles from getting too soggy and falling apart. When the veggies are almost done, add several eggs (I usually use as many eggs as I'm using noodle packets) and stir while cooking. Or you can add canned chicken or fish or sausages - basically any kind of already-cooked meat! Cook just long enough to warm the meat (or scramble the eggs). Then drain the noodles well, and add to your skillet. Also add half of the seasoning packets from the noodles (if you're using four packs of noodles, only use two seasoning packets), and a generous sprinkle of curry powder and black pepper. Mix well but gently to keep the noodles intact. Serve immediately!

I can whip this dish up in twenty minutes, and it's one of my family's favorites! When we lived in West Africa, I bought Indomie noodles by the case, so that if all else failed, we could always have fried noodles for lunch. :-)

Here's the recipe in a more standard format:

Fried Indomie Noodles

4 packs chicken-flavored Indomie, cooked and drained

1/2 onion, chopped

1 cup shredded cabbage

1 carrot, sliced

1 clove garlic, pressed

4 eggs

2 seasoning packets from noodles

1/4 tsp black pepper

1/4 tsp curry powder

Fry the vegetables in oil until soft. Add eggs and scramble together, cooking until eggs are firm. Stir in noodles and seasonings, and fry just until everything is heated through and well-mixed. Serve immediately! Serves 4-5, unless you have hungry teenage boys, in which case it feeds about 3. :-)