Putting leftovers to good use – Spaghetti with crab and chili oil

After the gumbo, I had a half a pound of crab to make use of.  Some said make crab au gratin but I cant eat dairy.  Other suggestions included stuffed mushrooms or fish fillets, both of which I didn’t already have and a trip to the grocery store was not in my near future.  So I settled on pasta!  I haven’t made any type of pasta in ages because I cut most wheat out of my diet over a year ago.  But I found some whole wheat spaghetti noodles in my pantry along with chili oil and a pepper left over from the fish cakes I made and I set to work.  Thank you to my friend Shelly for the lemons from the tree in her yard!

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8 oz dried whole wheat spaghetti

1 tbsp chili oil

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 red chili, finely chopped

2 tbsp flat leaf parsley, chopped

8 oz white crab meat

juice of 1 lemon

2-3 tbsp olive oil

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Place the spaghetti into a pan of boiling, salted water.  Cook until tender

Heat the chili oil in a small pan, add the garlic, chili, parsley and crab meat and cook gently for a couple of
minutes.  Stir in the lemon juice and olive oil.  Drain the pasta and stir through the chili crab sauce.  Serve immediately.

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So easy and so yummy!  Happy cooking!

The Main Event – Roast Chicken with Lemon and Herbs

This is the final post in my Valentine’s Day series.  I’ve only ever roasted a whole chicken one other time.  Mainly because I don’t have a good carving knife but also because a whole chicken is a lot of meat for one person! But with Rob to help consume I figured why not do it? It’s a special occasion right?  So here we go!

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1 whole chicken (about 4 pounds)

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice, plus two whole lemons

1 tablespoon coarse sea salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Fresh herbs for garnish (4 rosemary springs, 4 sage sprigs, 8 thyme sprigs)

IMG_1634Position an oven rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees.  Remove the giblets from the chicken, wash it inside and out with cold water, then let it drain, cavity down, in a colander for 2 minutes.

Pat the chicken dry with paper towels.  Place it breast side down in a medium roasting pan fitted with a rack and pour the lemon juice all over the chicken, both inside and out.  Season the chicken all over with salt and pepper inside and out.

Prick 2 whole lemons three times each in three different places with a fork and place them deep inside the cavity.  Really stick the fork in.  I didn’t push it in far enough and there were barely any drippings for the sauce.  Chicken cavity sizes may vary, so  if one lemon is partly sticking out, that’s okay.

Put the chicken in the oven lower the temperature to 350 degrees, and roast, uncovered, for 15 minutes.

Remove the roasting pan from the oven.  Using tongs or two wooden spoons, turn the chicken breast side up.  Insert a meat thermometer in the thigh, and return the chicken to the oven and roast for about 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes or until the meat thermometer reads 180 degrees and the juices run clear when the thigh is pricked with a fork.  Continue roasting if necessary.  Keep in mind that cooking times in different ovens vary, roasting a chicken at 350 degrees take about 18-20 minutes per pound, plus an additional 15 minutes.

Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before carving.  Pour the juices from the roasting pan on top of the sliced chicken.  Garnish with fresh herbs.

IMG_1640I’ll be honest, this chicken was really good but I think it could have been better.  I don’t think I cooked it long enough.  While it was really tender and tasty, there was no juice from the lemons inside to pour over the chicken.  I’m planning on trying this again to see if I can get it to come out right.  I really love lemon sauce so I was disappointed that there wasn’t any.  The little bit of drippings that I did get were really good so I know it would be a stellar dish!  Ladies, be careful who you serve this dish to.  It should be someone you love!  If you want to know why, send me a message on the Facebook page and I’ll tell you!  Let me know how yours turns out.  Happy cooking!

My favorite quick, healthy meal – Stir Fry!

This blog is about cooking when you don’t have much time  I usually cook the meals I post here on Sunday when I have more time, so what do I eat during the week?  I eat my version of stir fry at least once a week because it’s SO easy! So here I give you my all purpose recipe for those days when you only have a half hour and you don’t want to eat fast food or a frozen meal.  It’s quick, it’s easy, its yummy, and it’s perfect for one person (although you can tweak the recipe for more).  I will admit that I may have stolen the idea for this from a certain roommate I had a few years ago 🙂

IngredientsThere are four key ingredients to my all purpose stir fry:

Rice: I use brown of course and for one person I use 1/4 cup with 3/4 cup of water and cook according to the package directions

Meat: I find that chicken or shrimp work best.  I’ll use one boneless skinless chicken thigh (I like dark meat) or half a breast cut into cubes.  Or 7 or 8 peeled deveined raw shrimp.  Sausage works pretty well too.  I’ve tried beef before but wasn’t a fan.  I think you can probably use any meat you want.

Veggies: 3 different kinds.  I’m not joking when I say I’ve tried everything!  Potatoes, radishes, peppers, bok choi, mushrooms, zucchini, squash, onions of every color, broccoli, egg plant, carrots, celery, you name it and I’ve probably tried it in stir fry.

Sauce: There are a number of different stir fry sauces out there.  I’ve tried tons of them.  I tend to like the sweet and tangy sauces but there are lots of savory ones too.  Whole Foods has them all over the place, by the seafood counter, in the Asian isle, near the BBQ sauce, there are any number of sauces just waiting to be tried.  Trader Joe’s also has a variety of sauces that are pretty good.

IMG_1443The first step is to chop up your veggies. I am obsessed with Chinese eggplant right now so it’s made its way into many of my quickie meals recently.  You cant go wrong with onions and peppers of any hue are great too.

IMG_1444Saute in olive oil all your veggies starting with the ones that take longer (onions, potatoes, carrots, root veggies, etc) then gradually adding the stuff that needs less cooking.  With most meats you want to start with them then add veggies, with shrimp they take less time to cook so I add them last.  Once all is cooked through, add the sauce, coat the veggies an heat through. Serve over the rice!  Total cooking time: less than 30 minutes!

IngredientsThere you have it folks!  Happy cooking!

Sauteed Baby Bok Choi

I’ve moved! I am now a real life blog!  So this is my first blog post on WordPress.  Bear with me as I learn to use this platform.  I’m sure there will be some kinks along the way!  My first post will be a side dish that I served with the turkey recipe I posted earlier today on Tumblr.  I found this recipe in the New York Times cooking section Jan 5, 2011.The ingredientsI got these baby bok chois (is bok choi already plural?) in my CSA box this month and needed to use them before they went bad so although I’m not sure asian veggies go so well with American turkey I figured what the heck.  We live in a melting pot right?  Why not cook that way too!

Sauteeing

2 tablespoons neutral cooking oil, like canola (I used olive because I don’t like those light veggie oils)

2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced

1 1/2 inch piece ginger root, peeled and minced (I used about a half teaspoon pre-minced ginger which I forgot to include in the photo)

1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes, or to taste

4 bunches of baby bok choi, approximately 1 1/2 pounds, cleaned, with the ends trimmed

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon chicken stock or water

Toasted sesame oil for drizzling.

1. In a large saute pan with a lid, heat oil over medium-high heat until it starts to shimmer.  Add garlic, ginger and red-pepper flakes and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 45 seconds. (Watch for flying oil drops, it hurts!)

2. Add bok choi and stir carefully to cover with oil, then cook approximately 2 minutes.  Add soy sauce, stock or water, then cover pan and cook for approximately 2 minutes more, until steam begins to escape from beneath the lid of the pan.

3. Uncover and continue to cook until liquid is close to evaporated and stalks are soft to the touch, approximately 3 minutes more.

4. Remove to warmed platter and drizzle with sesame oil.  (This was a last minute dish and I was out of sesame oil so I skipped this part).

The finished product

This was a simple but delish recipe.  I definitely recommend.  Happy cooking!