Cleaning my home office is like venturing on a treasure hunt; I never know what goodies I will find.
I have decided to de-clutter my home via a yard sale. I started in my daughter’s room, which is being transformed to future grandbaby’s nursery. I then tackled my office, which started off with me just loading old books in boxes and not stopping to look through them.
Somehow along the way, all that resolve slipped away; I started flipping through some of my cookbooks. It’s amazing how those cookbooks found their way back onto the shelves.
The recipes in those books were just too good. The old recipe booklets that I have collected over my years of food writing could not be tossed aside.
One booklet published by the Almond Board of California was a find. It is called “Fast & Fabulous,” and, yes, it is just that. The recipes are quick and great-tasting.
I thought I would share two treasures with you, a chicken curry and Greek phyllo chicken. For those who have given up red meat for Lent, these are flavorful go-to recipes. Of course, both recipes contain almonds, which are considered to be among the healthiest nuts. Almonds are cholesterol free and contain vitamins and minerals that promote heart health, including Vitamin E.
Remember these two recipes are fast suppers. The chicken curry is done in the microwave and
takes less than 15 minutes from start to finish. It is served over a toasted coconut pilaf if you like coconut or just plain white or brown rice if you don’t. The Greek chicken requires oven time and takes about 30 minutes. A rotisserie chicken works well for this dish, another time saver.
GREEK PHYLLO CHICKEN
3 cups chopped cooked chicken
1 cup whole natural almonds, toasted and chopped
1 (8-ounce) package feta cheese, crumbled
[ ] cup each sliced green onions and heavy cream (I used fat-free half and half)
2 tablespoons Dijon-style mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
1- teaspoons each basil and herb pepper seasoning
pound frozen phyllo dough, thawed
cup butter, melted
Mix together all ingredients except phyllo dough and melted butter. Brush bottom of a 9-by-12-by-2-inch pan with butter. Layer with one sheet phyllo, folding excess edges down to fit pan; brush with butter. Repeat using half of phyllo. Spoon almond-chicken mixture over phyllo. Top with remaining half of phyllo, brushing each sheet with butter and fitting edges into pan. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes until golden brown. Cool slightly before serving. Makes 8 servings.
SPEEDY CHICKEN CURRY
cup vegetable oil
2 onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons curry powder
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger root
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 cups each chopped tomatoes and diced eggplant
1 tart green apple chopped
cup condensed chicken broth
1 pound boneless chicken breast, cut into 2-inch cubes
cup whole nature almonds toasted
2 tablespoons mango chutney
Toasted Coconut Pilaf (recipe below)
Combine oil, onions, garlic, curry powder, grated ginger and chili powder in 9-by-9-inch glass baking dish. Microwave on high power, 5 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, eggplant, apples and chicken broth; microwave on high powder 5 minutes. Stir in chicken; microwave on high power 5 minutes. Stir in almonds and mango chutney. Spoon over Toasted Coconut Pilaf or plain rice. Makes 4 servings.
TOASTED COCONUT PILAF
[ ] cup each chopped onions and condensed chicken broth
1 cup each long grain white rice and shredded coconut, toasted
Melt butter in medium saucepan. Stir in onions; cook until soft. Stir in 1- cups water and remaining ingredients; bring to boil. Cover and cook 20-25 minutes, until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender. Makes 4 servings.
I hope you enjoy these finds that I could not part with.
Another go-to recipe
Shirley Paxson of Biloxi, Miss., sent in one of her favorite go-to recipes. This one is for Italian sausage and rice. Again, this is an easy recipe that takes little time in the kitchen.
ITALIAN SAUSAGE AND RICE
1 pound Italian sausage links (I use Johnsonville mild links)
1 (28-ounce) can Del Monte stewed tomatoes with onion, garlic and green peppers
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
1 large onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon sage
[ ] teaspoon ground red pepper
2 medium green peppers, chopped
1 4-ounce can mushrooms
Cook sausage until browned. Stir and cut or crumble into small pieces. Add remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer. Serve over rice. Enjoy!
Submitted by Shirley Paxson
Egg or eggless gnocchi
Maria Mavar of Biloxi, Miss., wanted to know if the gnocchi recipe in last week’s column was complete.
“I have never heard of making gnocchi without at least one egg,” she said.
Gnocchi experts disagree on whether to add an egg to the gnocchi dough or not. Purists say that the best gnocchi is made without an egg, but that it is a bit harder to do.
Others opt for the egg because the dough is easier to work with, but others say that gnocchi dough with the egg is not as light.
So the battle of egg or no-egg gnocchi continues. Since we had a no-egg gnocchi last week, here’s a with-egg gnocchi today. Let me know which you prefer. Who knew gnocchi could be controversial?
Another reader Kelly Crawford of Bradenton sent me her recipe for South Meets Italy gnocchi soup, but I could not open the file. I have asked her to re-send the recipe in another format, so I hope to share it next week.
3 pounds russet potatoes
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 egg, extra large
1 pinch salt
cup canola oil
Boil the whole potatoes until they are soft, about 45 minutes. While still warm, peel and pass through vegetable mill onto clean pasta board.
Set 6 quarts of water to boil in large spaghetti pot. Set up ice bath with 6 cups ice and 6 cups water near boiling water.
Make well in center of potatoes and sprinkle all over with flour, using all the flour. Place egg and salt in the center of well and using a fork, stir into flour and potatoes, just like making normal pasta. Once egg is mixed in, bring dough together, kneading gently until a ball is formed. Knead gently another 4 minutes until ball is dry to touch.
Roll baseball-sized ball of dough into [ ]-inch diameter dowels and cut dowels into 1-inch long pieces. Flick pieces off of fork until dowel is finished. Drop these pieces into boiling water and cook until they float, about 1 minute. Meanwhile, continue with remaining dough, forming dowels, cutting into 1-inch pieces and flicking off of fork.
As gnocchi float to top of boiling water, remove then to ice bath. Continue until all have been cooled off. Let sit several minutes in bath and drain from ice and water. Toss with cup canola oil and store covered in refrigerator up to 48 hours until ready to serve.
Recipe courtesy of Mario Batali at foodnetwork.com
Scottish recipes, please
The official Tartan Day for the United States is April 6, and Day Lander of Moss Point, Miss., thinks this would be a perfect time for some good Scottish recipes.
At a recent celebration at St. John’s in Ocean Springs, two of the parishioners were making haggis from scratch. Perhaps those two or others would share some of recipes from their Scot ancestry.
Readers, please send me those recipes to share for official Tartan Day.
Andrea Yeager, a freelance writer, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Send contributions or requests to Cook’s Exchange, P.O. Box 4567, Biloxi, MS 39535-4567.