What’s the weirdest food you craved when you were preggo? With both of my pregnancies, I’ve had an incessant, nigh-incurable craving for curry. The first time, that wasn’t a problem because we lived in a college town with a seemingly endless array of international restaurants in close proximity — read: walking distance — to one another, including what is still hands-down my favorite Thai place. (They also had an amazing Turkish place where we got to sit on cushions to eat at low tables & everything… but that’s another story.) This time around, however, I haven’t been so lucky. Living in suburban sprawl has its downsides, for sure, & restaurant choice is one of them, especially if I don’t want to drive 30 minutes each way. (Bakeries too… but again, another story.)
But then my friend Patty introduced me to Weelicious. In less than 15 minutes of perusal, my weekly dinner rut had disappeared completely. I was pinning & bookmarking dinner ideas faster than I ever have before! Catherine (what a nice name!) has everything from baby & toddler foods to family dinners, snacks, incredible lunchbox ideas, ways to get your picky eater to be less picky… Why was I just now finding out about this?!
Then I saw it. The cure for my curry craving (for the moment, anyway). It’s actually not one of Catherine’s, but a contest submission from a lady named Deb. & it rocks. Before I go back for thirds, let me share my version with you. The original recipe is here.
- 2 Tbsp. curry powder
- 2 Tbsp. water
- 1 tsp. cumin
- dash ginger
- 3 cloves garlic, pressed
- 1 tsp. ketchup (if this weirds you out, use the tomato paste called for in the original recipe; ketchup achieves the same effect without requiring me to open a whole new can of paste)
- 3/4 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 apple, cored, skin on, cut into 1/2- to 1-inch pieces
- 1 cup carrots (about 2 large), peeled, cut into 1/2- to 1-inch pieces
- 1 large Russet potato, peeled, cut into 1/2- to 1-inch pieces
- 1 1/2 lbs. chicken (about 4 breasts), cut into 1/2- to 1-inch cubes
- 1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
- Combine first 7 ingredients in a small bowl; set aside.
- In a large, heavy-bottomed braiser or pot, heat oil on medium heat. Add onion; saute 3-4 minutes or until soft & translucent.
- Add spice mixture & saute 30 seconds more.
- Add apple, carrots, potatoes, & chicken; toss until evenly coated with spice mixture & onions.
- Add broth & bring to a boil. Reduce heat & simmer, covered, 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through & veggies are tender, stirring occasionally to keep curry from sticking to the bottom & to help the veggies cook evenly.
- Serve over basmati rice. (Trust me: I’ve tried just using regular old white rice in recipes like this before, but it doesn’t even compare. Spend a little extra for the basmati. Your family & your tastebuds will thank you profusely.)
Like the other Catherine, my family devoured this. Munchkin included. (Her affinity for curry may have something to do with the amount of it that I ate when I was pregnant & nursing with her…) It was flavorful without being spicy. I wondered about the apples, but decided to try it anyway & loved the touch of sweetness they added. If you look at the original recipe, you’ll see that I substituted potatoes for celery, simply because they were what was in my favorite curry at that one Thai place in Bloomington. I’m sure you could do both if you wanted to, but the whole family agreed that it was exactly perfect just like this.
When I was pregnant with The Munchkin, I craved Mexican food ALL THE TIME. We were living in Indiana, where the owners of Mexican restaurants seemed to hail from no further south than North Dakota, so when we headed west to visit family for Christmas, I gorged on as much as I could. One of my favorite places is Cafe Rio. No, not authentic Mexican, but at least they don’t try to pass off Italian tomato sauce as salsa. (I wish I were joking about that.)
Maybe we’ve been living without good Mexican — or at least a Del Taco — for too long now, but the Mexican cravings are much less frequent this time around.
Still, when Mommy needs her Cafe Rio, SHE NEEDS her Cafe Rio.
Now, like I said, it’s been awhile since we’ve eaten there, so I really couldn’t tell you how close this comes to the real thing. But the copycat J-Dawgs sauce has been such a hit among fellow former Provo-dwellers that I thought I’d put this one out there for more people to try. Tweaks from people who’ve had the real thing more recently are appreciated.
I’m lifting this almost exactly from Favorite Family Recipes. Go there to find her black bean recipe too; I didn’t have the energy to make one more component just to satisfy a craving, especially since I always order my salads with no beans anyway.
Sweet Pork Barbacoa:
- 2 lbs. pork
- 3 cans regular — not Diet — Coke (caffeine-free, of course! ;-)). Our local grocery store sells 2-liter bottles of caffeine-free cola for 98 cents! So I just do that.
- 1 1/4 cups brown sugar, divided
- sprinkle of garlic salt
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 can diced green chilies
- 3/4 can red enchilada sauce (Old El Paso, medium)
- Marinate pork inside a gallon Ziploc bag with about 18 oz. of Coke & 1/4 cup of brown sugar, a few hours or overnight.
- Drain marinade. Place pork in the bottom of a slow cooker. Add 6 oz. of Coke & the water. Sprinkle garlic salt over the top. Cook on high 3-4 hours, until it shreds easily.
- Remove the pork, drain liquid in the slow cooker, & shred the pork.
- In a blender or food processor, blend 6 oz. Coke with the green chilies, enchilada sauce, & remaining brown sugar. Add more brown sugar &/or Coke to suit your taste & ideal consistency.
- Add shredded pork & sauce to slow cooker. Cook on low 2 hours.
- 1 cup uncooked white rice
- 1 tsp. butter
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp. lime juice
- 1 can (15 oz.) chicken broth (I used low-sodium & had to add a little salt to get the taste to my liking)
- 1 cup water
- 1 Tbsp. lime juice
- 2 tsp. sugar
- 3 Tbsp. fresh chopped cilantro
- In a saucepan combine rice, butter, garlic, 1 tsp. lime juice, broth, & water; bring to a boil.
- Cover; simmer on low 15-20 minutes, until rice is tender. Remove from heat.
- In a small bowl combine last 3 ingredients. Fold into rice as you fluff the rice.
- 1 packet Hidden Valley Ranch mix (NOT Buttermilk)
- 1 cup mayo
- 1 cup buttermilk (make your own by pouring 1 Tbsp. lemon juice or vinegar into the bottom of a measuring cup, then filling it up the rest of the way to the 1-cup line, then let it sit for a few minutes to curdle)
- 2 tomatillos, husk removed, diced
- 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro
- 1 clove garlic
- juice of 1 lime (2 Tbsp. if you’re using bottled like me)
- 1 jalapeno, seeded, chopped
- Throw everything in the blender & blend it. Done.
Make your salad:
- If desired, place a tortilla in the bottom of your dish, sprinkle with cheese, & place in the oven for a few minutes to let it melt.
- Layer beans (if using), meat, rice, & lettuce. Top with dressing, guac, a sprinkle of cheese, & maybe some tortilla strips.
When the weather gets cooler — & trust me, the 60-degree lows we’ve experienced around here the past few days have actually been sweatshirt-worthy — I start craving the comfort food. This is, as the title would suggest, the ultimate comfort food. It’s warm, creamy, savory, & you hardly even have to chew! How’s that for comfort?
My friend Kelli made this for us years ago, when we were first married. It was so delicious I couldn’t believe how easy it was. I’ve lightened it up just a tiny bit since. It heats up great for leftovers; just be sure to cook up enough rice to serve with it later!
Creamy Crock Pot Chicken
- 4-6 frozen chicken breasts, depending on size
- 1 pkt. powdered Italian dressing mix
- 3/4 stick (6 Tbsp.) butter
- 8 oz. Neufchatel cheese (1/3 less fat cream cheese), softened
- 1 can reduced-fat cream of chicken soup (Campbell’s or Kroger brand)
- Place chicken in bottom of slow cooker.
- Sprinkle dressing mix evenly over top. Slice up butter into chunks & distribute evenly on top of that.
- Cook on low 5 hours or high 3 hours.
- Shred chicken with 2 forks.
- Add soup & cream cheese; mix well.
- Let sit in warm Crock Pot several minutes to allow cream cheese to melt.
- Stir again & serve over rice.
What is your ultimate comfort food?
Get Your Craft On Tuesdays
It was one of those days.
It had been raining for three days straight (whoever named Florida the Sunshine State was clearly not here during monsoon season) & we hadn’t been to the park or pool in at least that long. At one point I even heard The Munchkin talking in her sleep about wearing her “other swimsuit” at the swimming pool. In her sleep, people! Clearly this child needed to be outside.
But no. It was still raining. & Mommy was running out of ideas to keep both of us sane until Daddy got home after 7.
So Mommy put some chicken breasts in the sink to thaw for yet another humdrum dinner recipe, put on Mary Poppins (desperate times call for desperate measures), & sat down in front of the computer to look for a recipe for some tilapia I’d just bought on sale. I didn’t find one I loved the sound of (suggestions please!), but what I did find saved the day.
Mel’s Kitchen Cafe’s Honey Glazed Chicken got me excited about cooking again! It got My Husband The Lawyer excited to eat it when he walked in the door & smelled it! & it got The Munchkin excited to eat chicken without being bribed with grapes for once!
It sounds silly now that I’m sitting here typing this, but sometimes all it takes is a new yummy recipe to shake things up a bit & pull you out of your it’s-been-pouring-for-3-days-&-I’m-going-crazy rut to keep you sane for just one more day.
Here’s how I made it; I increased the oven temp to shorten cooking time (this recipe was a last-minute decision) & doubled the sauce recipe for you so that you have enough for your rice too — when I made it I halved the amount of chicken (3 breasts was plenty for the 3 of us) but not the sauce, & it was deeeeeelicious. Check her blog to see the real way.
- 2 lbs. chicken breast, diced
- 1/3 cup flour
- 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
- salt & pepper to taste (I’ve been loving my Steakhouse Grinder lately & used it for this)
- 6 Tbsp. butter, divided
- 1/2 cup honey
- 6 Tbsp. lemon juice
- 4 Tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 tsp. ground ginger
- Preheat your oven to 350. Combine flour, garlic powder, & salt & pepper in a shallow dish.
- Melt 2 Tbsp. of your butter & pour into the bottom of a baking dish large enough to fit all of your chicken a single layer.
- Coat chicken pieces evenly in flour, then arrange in bottom of dish.
- Bake, uncovered, 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a small saucepan on medium heat, combine remaining butter with honey, lemon juice, soy sauce, & ginger. Stir constantly until butter is melted & sauce is well blended.
- Remove chicken from oven & increase temperature to 375. Flip over each piece of chicken.
- Pour sauce evenly over chicken, then place back in the oven & bake another 20 minutes, basting with a spoon a few times (twice was fine for me) during that time. The chicken will be nice & glazed & delicious.
- Serve over rice.
Get Your Craft On Tuesdays
This recipe is a copycat from The Lion House, a restaurant & historic site on Temple Square in Salt Lake City. I have very fond memories of visiting there with my Grandma & filling up on their delicious rolls, but always saving room for the chocolate silk pie!
My friend Mandy gave me this recipe, & she got it from somewhere else before that, but the first couple of times I made it, it didn’t taste quite the same as I remembered at The Lion House. So I’ve adjusted it a little; hopefully it’s a little closer to the real thing, which you should definitely try (or anything on their delicious menu) if you’re in the neighborhood.
For the meatballs:
- 1 to 1 1/4 lbs. lean ground beef
- 3/4 cup rolled oats (not quick)
- 2 eggs, slightly beaten
- scant 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. worcestershire sauce
- a few shakes or grinds pepper
Combine ingredients in mixer bowl. Mix until well blended, but do not over-mix or the meat will get tough. Form into 24 or more balls, each about 1 1/2 inches, & place in baking dish. (For a family of 3-4, you can split the recipe in half: put half the meatballs in a foil pan, add the sauce [below], cover with foil, place in a Ziploc freezer bag, & freeze for later. Just put the foil pan in the fridge 24 hours before cooking to defrost, then cook as usual [below].)
For the sauce:
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/3 cup cider vinegar
- 2 tsp. prepared yellow mustard
- 1/2 cup barbecue sauce (not hickory)
- 2 tsp. worcestershire sauce
Combine ingredients in large saucepan & bring to a boil while mixing well. (Mustard may not incorporate entirely.) Pour over meatballs in pan. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Serve over rice.
In case the several-day lapse between posts wasn’t a dead giveaway, I’ve been letting a few things slide this week. The Munchkin decided that sleeping past 6:30 was overrated, & who needs naps? Oh, Mommy, but who’s counting, really? Added to my exhaustion were the two city trips we took (one to the Central Park Zoo on a Saturday — holy crowds, Batman!) just to wear her out enough to get her to sleep at night.
So I really needed something fresh & easy for dinner the other day. & delicious.
Oh, & did I mention, beautiful? Look at those colors! Wow!
Thank you, Kikkoman Preservative-Free Low-Sodium Stir-Fry Sauce, for thoughtfully printing the delicious product-placement recipe on the back of the bottle that inspired this Simple Seven-Ingredient Stir-Fry.
- 1-2 cups uncooked rice
- 1 Tbsp. cornstarch
- 1 Tbsp. soy sauce
- 1 lb. stir-fry beef (or cut sirloin into thin strips)
- 2 Tbsp. oil, divided (NOT EVOO — you need something with a higher smoke point. Sesame oil works best; I used regular old vegetable oil.)
- 1 bag frozen stir-fry veggies (we like the Great Value Sugar Snap Stir-Fry variety)
- 1/2 cup stir-fry sauce
- Prepare rice as directed.
- Combine cornstarch & soy sauce in a shallow bowl. Coat beef strips in mixture.
- Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in wok or large skillet over high heat. Add beef; stir-fry 2 minutes. You want a good sear, but don’t want to overcook the beef or it’ll get tough. Remove beef.
- Reduce heat to medium-high. Heat 1 Tbsp. oil, then add still-frozen veggies. Stir-fry 5 minutes or until done through.
- Add sauce & beef; stir 1 minute or until well coated in sauce.
- Serve over rice.
Linking up to Works for Me Wednesday at We ARE That Family!